Raptiva is a prescription drug that is used to treat psoriasis. It was manufactured by the company Genentech, Inc., and began being used in 2003, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it. After six years, in 2009, the FDA released a statement that there were three, possibly four, cases of an illness called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). This illness results in a very serious infection of the brain and is most likely caused by the use of Raptiva. Of the four patients who were diagnosed with PML, three died and the FDA required that Genentech add a warning to the drug listing PML as a side effect of its use.
What is PML?
PML is a viral disease that is usually fatal to those who are diagnosed with it. It results in damage and inflammation to the brain in several different locations. The disease is rare and typically occurs in people who have severely impaired immune systems, such as chemotherapy patients or people who have received organ transplants. There is no cure for this disease, and even if a patient survives, he or she can suffer severe neurological damage.
Psoriasis is a very common ailment that affects many people. Raptiva is one of the most common drugs used to treat the condition. Psoriasis causes specific white blood cells, the T cells, to create an inflammation of the skin. This can cause rashes and raised skin that is itchy, scaly, and very uncomfortable. Raptiva is administered as a once-weekly shot. Since psoriasis is a disorder that stems from immune system problems, it is easy to see how a patient could contract PML as a result of using the drug.
Common Side Effects of Raptiva
The FDA says that patients being treated with Raptiva face the potential for serious viral, fungal, and bacterial diseases. Some of the most common side effects of the drug are:
- Fever and/or chills
- Problems with urination such as burning
- Sore or swollen throat
If you or someone you know has been using Raptiva, it is important to know the symptoms of the side effects:
- PML will result in difficulty walking or talking, balance and coordination problems, vision issues, confusion and dizziness
- Anemia, which can result in jaundice, overall weakness or loss of energy, and dizziness
- Impairment of the nervous system, such as weakness in the arms and legs or tingling in the face, sudden numbness in specific areas of the body
- Thrombocytopenia, which is a low blood platelets count, will result in small purple or red spots underneath the skin, easy bruising or bleeding gums
If you have suffered an injury from taking Raptiva, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages through a defective drug lawsuit. The attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers will review your claim and advise you on the best way to proceed.