Efalizumab review

Efalizumab is a drug used to treat psoriasis and is created by Genentech. Sold and marketed under the name Raptiva, it is a synthetically engineered antibody designed to prohibit the proliferation of psoriasis and its processes. It is designed to specifically block the receptor that is responsible for the overgrowth of skin cells. This receptor otherwise known as LFA-1, is found on the lymphocyte to which the disease is attributed to be the causative component.

The drug prevents the combination and adhesion therefore stopping the lymphocytes from being activated. With effective usage and proper treatment regimen, the drug is primed to be a successful drug, but at a price.

Recent reports of the use of the drug have been linked to a series of deaths after the victims were found to have developed a progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy or PML. This is a rare disease that is described as the degeneration of the central nervous system caused by the activation of the John Cunningham Virus. The drug has been said to increase the risk of activating the kidney latent virus.

Since the drug lowers the overall immune system of patients due to its lymphocytic suppressant, the virus may be reactivated in the most severe cases of infection, and would give the unfortunate client around 2.6 months to live.

As of June 9, 2008, the market for efalizumab in the US will have been taken off pharmacy shelves and order placements as new alternatives are being introduced to replace the halted drug.

Efalizumab is given to patients who have developed and have been diagnosed with psoriasis. Strict medication adherence and follow-ups are required as this is a very potent drug, and is also synthetically created.

Even if the drug is supposed to be under strict supervision by any attending physician, it is allowed for patients to self inject the medication following a proper training course intended solely for the medication regimen.

The usual variants once sold in the US are in powder form and reconstituted with sterile water for subcutaneous injection. The usual dosage given to patients are a single dose of 0.7 milligram per kilogram body weight and followed up with a slightly increased dose of 1 milligram per kilogram body weight after a week. Any maximum dose for the said drug should not exceed more than 200 milligrams.

One of the side effects associated with the medication of efalizumab is the increased susceptibility of the patient to infections of different kinds. There are also reports that the drug may cause malignancies such as the deadly PML, thrombocytopenia, anemia, and ever some superinfection of the psoriasis.

The drug as of creation of this article has been scheduled to be withdrawn from the US market for an indefinite time following the reported cases of death following a succession of activated PML on patients.

There are also precautionary measures that indicate the cessation of the use of the drug in cases where risk for infection is significantly high such as with the presence of HIV, or any other autoimmune disorders.

• Chemical IUPAC Name is Humanized anti-CD11a antibody
Efalizumab available : 125ml injection

Brand name(s): Raptiva

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