Psoriasis Drug Raptiva Linked to Three Deaths

Last week, the FDA issued a warning that it is investigating the link between the psoriasis drug Raptiva and a rare brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. The people are known to have died from the disease, and a fourth is suspected.

Raptiva (efalizumab) was approved by the FDA for the treatment of psoriasis, a chronic skin condition causing skin pain, itching and bleeding. The known victims had been taking the drug for more than three years.

When the drug was approved, the FDA required a series of warnings, including opportunistic infections, including sepsis and viral meningitis. While not listed, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy is considered an opportunistic infection most frequently associated with compromised immune systems as a result of cancer treatments or AIDS.

The FDA warning can be found here.

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