Welcome! We regret to inform you that the Injury Board National News Desk has been discontinued. Feel free to browse around and enjoy our previously published articles, or visit The Injury Blog Network for the latest in personal injury news.

Psoriasis Drug Linked To Deaths

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, February 20, 2009 11:02 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Psoriasis, Genentech, Raptiva, Efalizumab, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Immune System

Raptiva use linked to three deaths. 



IMAGE SOURCE:  Raptiva Web site 


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a public health advisory about the immunosuppressant drug, efalizumab (Raptiva) made by Genentech, Inc. 

Three deaths from progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have been reported. A fourth case is being looked at as well.  The patients ranged in age from 47 to 73 years of age.

All of the patients had been on efalizumab for at least three years and that was the only immunosuppressant drug they had taken.

PML is a rare but serious progressive neurologic disorder caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system.  Patients with a severely compromised immune system are its most likely victims suffering from an irreversible brain function and death.   No treatment exists for PML.

The drug received a black box warning last October which included the risk for infection that could be life-threatening. 

Raptiva is used to treat adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.  Efalizumab is an anti-CD11a antibody immunosuppressant. It works by affecting T-cells of the immune system and decreases function of the immune system, therefore increasing susceptibility to infections. 

It was approved in October 2003. At the time no cases of PML were reported in clinical trials.

The FDA says doctors should monitor patients closely to evaluate whether treatment should continue.  Patients and their doctors can report adverse events to the FDA’s MedWatch program at 1-800-FDA-1088 or by going online. #

No Comments

Comments for this article are closed.

About the National News Desk

Our mission is to seek the complete truth and provide a full and fair account of the events and issues that surround personal safety, accident prevention, and injury recovery.  We are committed to serving the public with honesty and integrity in these efforts.

Hurt in an accident? Contact an Injury Board member

Subscribe to Blog Updates

Enter your email address if you would like to receive email notifications when comments are made on this post.

Email address


RSS Feed

Add the National News Desk to your favorite RSS reader

Add to Google Reader Add to myYahoo Add to myMSN Add to Bloglines Add to Newsgator Add to Netvibes Add to Pageflakes