Psoriasis Drug Raptiva Voluntarily Recalled by Drug Maker
Genentech, the manufacturer of the psoriasis drug Raptiva (efalizumab), said it has begun a "voluntarily" recall of the drug from the market due to serious patient safety risks following an FDA report indicating that three patients using Raptiva died of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare, serious, progressive neurological disease caused by a virus that affects the central nervous system. The company said that doctors should immediately stop prescribing the drug. In its February report, the FDA recommended that doctors carefully monitor current and former users of Raptiva for signs of neurological diseases, but stopped short of taking any action that would recall the drug at that time. Genetech estimates that about 2,000 patients in the U.S. are currently taking Raptiva for chronic psoriasis.