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Other drug names: A-Am An-Az B C-Ch Ci-Cz D-Dh Di-Dz E F G H I-J K-L M-Mh Mi-Mz N-Nh Ni-Nz O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q-R S-Sn So-Sz T-To Tp-Tz U-V W-Z 0-9   

Alefacept Injection

Why is this medication prescribed?

Alefacept is used to treat moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis. Alefacept is in a class of immunosuppressant medications called dimeric fusion proteins. It works by stopping the activity of T- lymphocytes, cells in the body that act abnormally in people with psoriasis.

How should this medicine be used?

Alefacept comes as a solution to inject into a muscle (intramuscularly) or vein (intravenously). It is usually injected in a doctor's office once a week for 12 weeks. Sometimes a second 12 week cycle is given, but it is always separated from the first cycle by at least 12 weeks without the medication.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking alefacept,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to alefacept or any other medications.
  • do not undergo phototherapy or take medications that suppress the immune system such as azathioprine (Imuran), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), sirolimus (Rapamune), and tacrolimus (Prograf) while taking alefacept.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you or any of your close relatives have or have ever had cancer and if you have or have ever had any disease that affects your immune system such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), or severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome (SCID); or kidney or liver disease. Also tell your doctor if you have any type of infection, including infections that come and go (such as cold sores) and infections such as tuberculosis (TB), varicella (chickenpox or shingles), or hepatitis.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking alefacept or within 8 weeks of stopping alefacept, call your doctor.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking alefacept.
  • do not have any vaccinations (e.g., measles or flu shots) without talking to your doctor.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss an appointment to receive an alefacept injection, call your doctor as soon as possible.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Alefacept may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • dizziness
  • upset stomach
  • muscle pain
  • pain, redness, swelling, or bleeding in the place alefacept was injected

Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:

  • hives
  • skin rash
  • itching
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • hoarseness
  • fever, sore throat, chills, and other signs of infection
  • cough
  • changes in skin such as new sores, spots, lumps or moles
  • lumps or masses in any part of the body

Alefacept may increase the risk of developing cancer. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.

Alefacept may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

Your doctor will store the medication in his office and give it to you each week.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • chills
  • headache
  • joint pain
  • sinus pain

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests before and during treatment to check your body's response to alefacept.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT