“Coaches Corner” – Get a B-Cell Test
You just left your doctor’s office, and you’ve been told that they want to try Rituximab (Rituxan/Mabthera). Most likely, the doctor explained how the treatment is a B-Cell inhibitor, and that it is a very targeted therapy designed to eliminate those cells in your body that are attacking the proteins in your skin. Your doctor has informed you that it is an infusion, reviewed the treatment schedule and protocol with you, possible side effects, and answered any other questions or concerns that you have. Your doctor most likely forgot to tell you about one very important aspect: How will you know if the Rituximab is working?
If the Rituximab is supposed to eliminate your B-Cells then it should be measured exactly that way. Ask your doctor to perform a baseline test to determine you B-Cell (CD20) count prior to your first infusion. A follow up test should be done at the conclusion of each treatment cycle to measure the decrease in your B-Cells. Remember, it may be necessary to have several cycles to eliminate these cells but the best way to check is a simple blood test.
Along with this B-Cell baseline test, it is recommended that your physician performs a thorough pre-treatment screening including:
Your Medical History – Any history of cardiovascular or pulmonary disease, recurring infections or allergies.
Physical Examination – Review all medications and possible contraindications.
Other tests should include; Chest X-ray, routine blood test, Hepatitis B screen, and immunoglobulin levels
Our disease and the treatments can be confusing, so if you’re not sure just “Ask a Coach”!
Remember, when you need us we are in your corner!
Marc Yale – Certified Peer Health Coach