Efalizumab is used to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. This is a type of medication called a monoclonal antibody. Efalizumab suppresses the part of the immune system and modifying the process of inflammation. This is a man-made form of protein similar to human antibodies. It is made to target and destroy certain cells in the body. Therefore, it may help to protect healthy cells from damage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription. Efalizumab is supplied as a sterile and white to off-white lyophilized powder in single-use glass vials for subcutaneous injection.  

Plaque psoriasis is a skin condition that speeds up the life cycle of skin cells. It causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form scales and red patches that are itchy and sometimes painful. Psoriasis is a chronic condition that frequently comes and goes. The main goal of the treatment is to stop the skin cells from growing so quickly. Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas. Most types of this disease go through cycles, flaring a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time. The signs and symptoms of this are different for everyone. Common signs and symptoms may include:

  • Small scaling spots
  • Red patches of skin covered with thick and silvery scales
  • Burning, itching, or soreness
  • Dry and cracked skin that may bleed
  • Swollen and stiff joints
  • Thickened, pitted or ridged nails

This type of condition often develops between the ages of 15 to 35 but it can develop at any age. Psoriasis is not contagious and something you can catch or others can catch from you. This disease is not infectious.

How does Efalizumab work?

Efalizumab is a suppressing part of the immune system and modifying the process of inflammation. Monoclonal antibodies are manufactured antibodies that are specifically designed to recognize and bind to unique proteins in the body. This medication works by binding to a specific protein on the surface of T lymphocyte cells known as lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1). By binding to the proteins, this drug prevents a cascade of immunologic reactions. That it may lead to inflammatory responses in the dermis and epidermis layers of the skin. In plaque psoriasis, Efalizumab decreases the skin inflammation and thickened scaly plaques of skin.

The effect of this medication may reach after 1 to 2 days after subcutaneous administration.

How to use Efalizumab?

Efalizumab is given by subcutaneous injection. This is only to be injected once a week or as directed by your doctor. Do not mix the medicine ahead of time for later use. Use this medicine right away or within 8 hours after you mix it. Mix the medicine as instructed by your doctor. Before using this product, check it visually for particles or discoloration. Do not use the medicine if either is present. The recommended dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment.  

Clean the injection site with rubbing alcohol before injecting each dose. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely. The injection site should be rotated each time you inject a dose. To get the most benefit from it, use the medication regularly. Remember to use the prescription at the same time each day. If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and follow your regular schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose. Consult your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse.

What are the side effects of Efalizumab?

Common side effects:

  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Back pain
  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling in your hands or feet

Tell your doctor right away if you have these serious side effects:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Mouth sores
  • Flu symptoms
  • Tenderness
  • Skin redness
  • Signs of infection

If you these signs of an allergic reaction, call for medical emergency help right away:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Hives or itching
  • Swelling of your lips, face, throat, or tongue

Warnings and Precautions

  • If your weight changes, contact your doctor immediately. Your dose may need to be adjusted.
  • Before you receive any medical or dental procedures, let your doctor know that you are taking Efalizumab.
  • This drug may decrease the number of clot-forming cells in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause injury or bruising. Inform your doctor if you have tarried, dark, or bloody stools.
  • Efalizumab may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Call your doctor if you have signs of infection such as sore throat, fever, or chills.
  • While you are having this treatment, do not receive any immunization or vaccinations without the permission of your doctor.
  • Do not share this with others even if they have the same symptom as yours.
  • This is not recommended for use in children and adolescents under 18 years of age. The effectiveness and safety have not yet been confirmed.
  • If you become pregnant while you are taking Efalizumab or within 6 weeks after you stop taking this drug, call your doctor right away. You may need to discuss the benefits and risks of using this drug while you are pregnant.
  • Do not breastfeed while taking this medication.
  • Before using this, tell your doctor if you ever had an allergic reaction to this drug. This may have an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction.
  • If there happened to be any signs of an overdose, call for medical help immediately.
  • Keep this at room temperature far from heat, moisture, and reach of children.

Use this with caution in people with:

  • Low numbers of blood cells called platelets in their blood
  • A history of recurrent infections
  • Decreased liver function  
  • Decreased kidney function  

This should not be used in people with:

  • A history of malignant conditions
  • Active tuberculosis
  • Severe infections
  • Underactive immune system