Treating With Venetoclax for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Samantha’s Story - Episode 4

First-Hand Experience with CD20 Monoclonal Antibody Therapy

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Nitin Jain, MD: Tell us more about your schedule of treatment, since you live a couple of hours away. What kind of side effects were you experiencing? How did you tolerate it? How did it all go about?

Samantha Rine: It went great. What I remember in the hospital is you explained the different options for treatment. I believe you chose the regimen you did because the others had issues of bleeding. In my CT [computed tomography] scan they found a small blood clot, so I was put on a blood thinner. It was your opinion that venetoclax plus rituximab would be the best choice with those other conditions. As far as the treatment went, the first infusion was in the hospital.

I never had anything done like that before, so it was a little scary, but it went well. I had no side effects, no adverse reactions; I tolerated the treatment well. It didn’t change anything as far as how I was feeling. Then the good news was that going forward, because I tolerated the first infusion so well, I could get an injection of the rituximab. I was excited about that, and I took one or two, I think, and then had an allergic reaction, so I was put back on the infusion after that, which was fine. It takes a little time during the day, traveling back and forth. It’s not a huge issue. We’re not that far away.

As far as side effects, there were never any on the rituximab. With the venetoclax, we ramped up the dose. I started with a low dose, and then we increased it a little bit over time until it got to the point where my system could handle the full dose. However, at the end I couldn’t handle the full dose, so we lowered it a little. I was taking a reduced dose, but never had any side effects. I never felt bad or tired. Like Doug said, we’ve never had any experience with cancer treatments before, so I didn’t know what to expect. This was the best, if you’re going to have cancer treatment, this is a great one to get.

Transcript Edited for Clarity