Arzerra (ofatumumab) and Rituxan (rituximab) – anti-cancer drugs – will be getting an upgraded boxed warning label to add information about the risk of hepatitis B infection in patients who’ve previously suffered from such an infection. The labels will also include recommendations for users including monitoring and screening of patients that currently take these drugs.
Arzerra, used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia and Rituxan, used to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and CLL – but when used with other prescription drugs, it can also treat other illnesses such as arthritis.
Patients that take both medications and whom have experienced a prior hepatitis B infection, may reactive the virus as the body’s immune system becomes impaired due to the anti-cancer drugs.
Patients are urged to contact their doctor if they are battling severe infections while taking th medication and to also increase monitoring for infection during treatment. Any adverse effects should be reported to the FDA immediately.