PML and Raptiva® (Efalizumab)
If you were diagnosed with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) after being treated with Raptiva® (efalizumab), you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, treatment costs and suffering. For more information, please contact us today.
What Is Raptiva®?
Raptiva® is an immunosuppressive (suppresses the immune system) drug that was prescribed to treat plaque psoriasis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took the drug off the market in April 2009 because the drug was linked to an increase in the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).
Raptiva® inhibits white blood cells, which are disease-fighting agents, from migrating out of blood vessels into the tissues. Psoriasis patients injected the medication once a week.
What is PML?
PML is a rare disease occurring in persons with impaired immune systems. It is caused by a virus that exists in most people and resides in the kidneys where it does no harm. It becomes active only when the immune system weakens. The virus is called the John Cunningham virus (JCV), named after the man from whose brain it was isolated.
Once activated, the JCV travels through the circulatory system to the brain, where it destroys the myelin sheath, a protective substance surrounding nerves in the brain and spinal cord. The condition progresses rapidly over days or weeks, almost always leading to death. No cure is available.
As the disease advances, it causes:
- Worsening clumsiness and lack of coordination
- Weakening of the arms and legs
- Problems with cognition and memory
- Aphasia (loss of ability to speak, read, listen, and write)
In 2009, the FDA said that "the risk that an individual patient taking Raptiva® will develop PML is rare and is generally associated with long-term use. Generally, PML occurs in people whose immune systems have been severely weakened and often leads to an irreversible decline in neurologic function and death."
Patients susceptible to PML are those with AIDS, a small number of organ transplant patients taking immunosuppressive drugs, persons taking other immunosuppressive medications, certain cancer patients (those with Hodgkin's disease, lymphoma, and sarcoidosis) and people with other types of immunocompromised conditions, including systemic lupus erythematosus and organ transplant survivors.
Raptiva® was made by Genentech, which estimated the drug was used by about 2,000 persons nationwide. For the year 2008, the company made $108 million on the drug.
If someone you love was treated with Raptiva® and suffered the devastating consequences of PML, you should contact a Raptiva® PML attorney. A qualified attorney can help you file a Raptiva® lawsuit, which might entitle you to compensation. Contact us for a free consultation today.