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Psoriasis drug Raptiva pulled from the market

April 8, 2009 |  4:17 pm

The drug company Genentech pulled Raptiva from the U.S. market today -- read the Reuters story here, and the AP story here.

Here is the FDA statement about the recall.

And here's company information about the recall. It states, "Since September 2008, Genentech has received 3 reports of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a serious and almost always fatal brain infection caused by a virus, in patients taking Raptiva (efalizumab). Because of the following key aspects of PML and our commitment to safety, Genentech has decided to voluntarily stop selling Raptiva."

Psoriasis is an immune system disorder characterized by skin inflammation. Raptiva (efalizumab) suppresses one portion of the immune system, T cells, to damp the inflammation. But that suppression also leaves the body more prone to certain infections, hence the rare occurrences of PML.

Read more about psoriasis, including other modes of treatment, at the website for the National Psoriasis Foundation.

-- Rosie Mestel