Alefacept (Injection)

Introduction

Alefacept (a-LEF-a-sept)

Treats moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. This medicine is an immune suppressant.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to alefacept, or if you have HIV, AIDS, or a history of cancer.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot into one of your muscles.
  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • This medicine is usually given once a week for 12 weeks. Some people might need to have another 12-week treatment. You must wait at least 12 weeks between each set of treatments. Talk with your doctor if you have questions.
  • You may not see improvement in your skin right away. Your psoriasis may continue to get better even after you have stopped receiving this medicine.

If a dose is missed:

  • Call your doctor, pharmacist, or treatment clinic for instructions.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you also use cisapride (Propulsid®), ergot medicine for migraines (such as ergotamine, Cafergot®, Ergomar®, Wigraine®), fentanyl (Duragesic®, Sublimaze®), pimozide (Orap®), quinidine (Cardioquin®, Quinaglute®), theophylline (Theo-Dur®), or a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you use medicine that weakens your immune system, such as a steroid or cancer treatment, including cyclosporine, Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®, sirolimus, Rapamune®, tacrolimus, Prograf®. Tell your doctor if you are also receiving phototherapy (light or laser therapy) for your psoriasis.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Tell your doctor if you become pregnant while you are receiving this medicine or within 8 weeks after you stop using this medicine.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have liver disease, cancer, chronic infection, or low white blood cells levels (lymphopenia).
  • This medicine may weaken your immune system and make you more likely to get an infection. Call your doctor right away if you symptoms of an infection, such as fever, chills, headache, swelling, or redness.
  • A small number of people who used this medicine developed cancer. This was rare and most of the cases were skin cancer. Make sure your doctor knows if you have had cancer before.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have upper stomach pain, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pain in your upper stomach, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
  • Severe diarrhea or painful or difficult urination

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Chills, without fever or other symptoms
  • Dizziness
  • Mild nausea
  • Pain, itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the shot was given

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

         
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