Raptiva Withdrawn From Market

Raptiva, a drug manufactured by Roche HoldingAG’s Genentech Inc. and marketed for the treatment of psoriasis has been linked to a rare but often fatal brain disorder. As a result of these findings, Genentech has issued a voluntary recall of the drug.
Genentech previously disclosed that three cases of the disorder, called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, had turned up in patients taking Raptiva since October of last year. Two of these cases were fatal. A fourth patient died of unknown cause after developing neurologic symptoms. All had been taking the drug for more than three years.
Last month, Genentech updated the Raptiva label to reflect the increased risk associated with the drug. But the company said it ultimately determined that the risk of the disorder outweighs the benefits of the drug.
A spokeswoman for Genentech added that there isn’t any way to mitigate the risk, a factor in the decision to pull it from the market. Raptiva is the first drug Genentech has withdrawn for safety reasons.
Genentech reported Raptiva sales of $108 million in 2008. The company estimates that about 2,000 patients in the U.S. are currently taking the drug.
Since it was approved by the FDA in 2003, the company says 46,000 people world-wide have taken Raptiva. The drug is used with a once-weekly injection and works by suppressing T-cells in the immune system.
The company advised doctors not to write any new prescriptions for the drug. But it said doctors should work with patients currently taking the medicine to find alternative treatments. Because abruptly cutting off treatment could make psoriasis worse, the company urged patients to see their doctors before they stop taking the drug. The company said Raptiva would continue to be available to current patients until June 8.
If you are someone you know is currently taking this medication please consult with your physician immediately.

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