GENERIC NAME: alefacept
BRAND NAME: Amevive
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Alefacept is an injectable drug that suppresses the immune system and is used for the treatment of psoriasis. Scientists believe that psoriasis is caused by an increase in the production of one type of immune cell, T-lymphocytes, in response to the attachment of a stimulant (antigen) to the lymphocyte. The stimulated T-lymphocytes cause skin cells to grow rapidly, and the rapid growth of the skin cells produces the skin plaques of psoriasis. Alefacept reduces the stimulation and production of T-lymphocytes by attaching to the site on the T-lymphocytes where the antigen attaches. This prevents the antigen from binding and activating the T-lymphocytes. Alefacept also decreases the life-span of T-lymphocytes that already have been produced by increasing the activity of another type of immune cell, natural killer cells, that kill T-lymphocytes. Alefacept was approved by the FDA in January 2003.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Alefacept is used for the treatment of adult patients with moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis who require drugs that are absorbed or injected into the body or light therapy (phototherapy).
SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects of alefacept are:
- sore throat,
- muscle aches,
- injection site pain and
- injection site redness and swelling.
Quick GuidePsoriasis Symptoms, Types, Treatment
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