Back again, two years later.
I'm still convinced Rituxan is a great medicine. It has arrested my MS progression for almost four consecutive years. This after I was in a free-fall in early 2012.
I did have one minor relapse last year, but the details make an even stronger argument for the efficacy of Rituxan. When I began taking Rituxan in mid-2012, my neuro suggested I take five doses (two years of treatment), then switch to an ad hoc system where I regularly get blood tests and only take Rituxan if I see my B cells start to come back. I was treated twice in 2012, twice in 2013, once in mid-2014, then switched to watchful waiting. My B cell count stayed low in my late 2014 blood test. I was tested again in March 2015. I had to travel in April. Unfortunately, the lab messed up the order and failed to test my B cells. My neuro office didn't notice the omission, accepted the results (of a Vitamin D level-only test) and did not notify me. I traveled as planned. Midway through April, I developed a new MS symptom (an electrical sensation shooting down my left thigh). I called my doctor, told him about it, and found out that I did not have an up-to-date B cell count. I went and got my blood tested. Indeed, my B cells had started to reappear. I flew home and got a Rituxan infusion. Within weeks, the new symptom had begun to go away. It's gone now. I might have sustained some permanent damage from that episode, I don't know-- nothing very bad. But the shooting electrical signal is a thing of the past.
Since then, we've decided to stick with an every-six-months infusion, basically forever, keeping my B cell count at zero proactively. If my insurance requires it, I'll switch to ocrelizumab when it's available at the end of this year. Personally, I'd prefer to stick to Rituxan.
I've continued to tolerate the infusions. I did get an itchy throat the last couple of times, a feeling of an allergic reaction and fear that my throat might swell. We slowed the drip and I did fine. (It was worst for the infusion that was almost a year after my previous infusion.)
As for infections: I'm 33, in good physical shape other than MS, regular exercise, healthy diet, all that. I don't get sick too often. I did need to take antibiotics for respiratory infections in summer 2014 and summer 2015. Kind of odd I needed it in the summer both years and not the winter. Maybe I was being overly careful because I know my immune system is at least somewhat compromised. Both times I recovered easily with antibiotics. No other concerns regarding opportunistic infections.
I highly recommend switching to rituxan or taking ocrelizumab when it becomes available. It's a game changing drug. The trials and research bear this out.