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October 23, 2009 – Today, Genentech and FDA notified healthcare professionals about a third case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy [PML], the first case of PML in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis [RA] treated with Rituximab [Rituxan] who has not previously received treatment with a TNF antagonist. Information to date suggests that patients with RA who receive Rituximab [Rituxan] have an increased risk of PML.
Physicians should consider PML in any patient being treated with Rituximab [Rituxan] who presents with new onset neurologic manifestations. Consultation with a neurologist, brain MRI, and lumbar puncture should be considered as clinically indicated.