Raptiva Overview: Raptiva Side Effects and Claims

Raptiva (generic name efalizumab) was a drug used in the treatment of psoriasis (an autoimmune disease that affects the skin and joints). The drug was used to suppress certain immune system cells (T-cells), which then decreases the effects of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. Raptiva is injected subcutaneously every week, and monitored by the patient’s doctor or nurse, particularly for signs of infection.

Raptiva Used to Treat Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis

Raptiva was used for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and is injected subcutaneously (injected into the body). Psoriasis is a chronic disease in which the body creates more skin cells than normal. The increased production is attributed to activation of lymphocytes, which are part of the immune system. In order to decrease the production of the extra skin cells, Raptiva works to suppress the immune system. The drug is usually injected once a week under the supervision of a doctor or nurse.

Raptiva Side Effects and Claims

There are some side effects related to the use of the drug, including headache, infection, chills, nausea and pain. However, because Raptiva works to suppress the immune system, there have been many more serious side effects that have been observed in patients continually taking the drug and have resulted in the drug’s withdrawal from the market. One of the major side effects to Raptiva was the progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), which was found in four patients and resulted in the death of three patients. All of these patients had been taking Raptiva for at least three years and were not using any other drugs that suppressed the immune system. PML is an infection of the brain and spinal cord and likely results in death. PML is the manifestation of the JC virus, which is dormant in most people. However, when the immune system is compromised and affected, then the virus may develop and turn into PML.

Genentech, Inc. issued a voluntary recall of the drug in 2009, and the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory about the drug’s life threatening side effects.

Check out the following articles for more information about Raptiva, filing a Raptiva lawsuit and finding a Raptiva attorney.