Alefacept (Injection)

Introduction

Treats plaque psoriasis. This medicine is an immune suppressant (it slows down the immune system).

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to alefacept, or if you have HIV or AIDS.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable, 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 or through a needle placed in one of your veins.
  • 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 12-week treatments. If you have questions, talk with your doctor.
  • You may not see improvement in your skin right away. Your psoriasis may continue to get better even after you have stopped using 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 are using medicine that weakens your immune system, such as a steroid or cancer treatment. Also make sure your doctor knows if you are also receiving phototherapy (light or laser therapy) for your psoriasis.
  • Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving this medicine. Vaccines may not work as well, or they could make you ill while you are using this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • This medicine affects your immune system. This means you may get infections more easily. Avoid people who are sick or have infections.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have any kind of infection before you start using this medicine. Also tell your doctor if you had an infection that would not go away or kept coming back. Call your doctor if you think you have an infection while using this medicine.
  • A small number of people who have used this medicine have developed cancer. This is rare. Most of the cases were skin cancer. Make sure your doctor knows if you have had cancer before. Talk about this risk with your doctor, especially if you might have other risk factors.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • For women: Tell your doctor if you become pregnant while using this medicine or within 8 weeks after you stop using this medicine. This medicine is not known to cause problems with pregnancy, but your doctor might want you to enroll in a Pregnancy Registry.

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.
  • Fever.
  • Ongoing nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain in your upper stomach.
  • Severe chills, headache, muscle pain, and sinus (face and forehead) pain or pressure.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Unusual changes in your health.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

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

  • Chills.
  • Dizziness, headache.
  • Nausea.
  • Pain, swelling, hardness, or mild bleeding where the needle was placed.
  • Sore throat, cough.

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

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
Adam Data Copyright The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only--they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

For information 410.787.4000

© 2013 UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center.  All rights reserved.

301 Hospital Drive, Glen Burnie, MD 21061 | 410-787-4000 | TTY 410-787-4498