efalizumab - subcutaneous injection, Raptiva (cont.)
USES: This medication is used to treat adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. Discuss risks and benefits of treatment and other possible medication options with your doctor.This drug is a man-made protein (monoclonal antibody) that decreases the actions of certain immune system cells (T lymphocytes). This action decreases the skin changes that are seen with plaque psoriasis.This drug has been withdrawn from the US and Canadian markets due to problems with safety (see Warning section - PML). Talk with your doctor about alternative treatments for psoriasis.
HOW TO USE: Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using efalizumab and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions regarding the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.This medication is given by injection under the skin (subcutaneously) of the thigh, abdomen, buttock, or upper arm, once a week; or use as directed by your doctor.Your dose of efalizumab is based on your weight. Tell your doctor if your weight changes. Do not change your dose or stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor.Before injecting each dose, clean the injection site with rubbing alcohol. It is important to change the location of the injection site weekly.Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it on the same day each week.It may take up to four weeks before the full benefits of this drug take effect. If your condition does not improve or worsens, contact your doctor.
SIDE EFFECTS: See also Warning section.Headache, chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, or muscle aches may occur during the first weeks, but then subside as your body adjusts to this medication. Pain, acne, backache, weakness, or flu-like symptoms may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: joint pain or swelling, swelling of hands or feet, unusual bleeding or bruising, unusual lumps, swollen glands, changes in skin appearance other than psoriasis-affected areas, yellowing of eyes/skin, dark urine, dizziness upon standing, sudden numbness/tingling/weakness, mental/mood changes (e.g., changes in thinking).A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but get medical help right away if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
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