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Generic name: efalizumab [EF-a-LIZ-oo-mab]

Drug class: selective immunosuppressants

What is Raptiva?

Raptiva, a synthetic protein that is similar to antibodies in humans, was developed by man. Efalizumab targets and kills only specific cells within the body. It may protect healthy cells.Raptiva can be used in the treatment of plaque psoriasis, which is a condition where there are raised silvery flakings on the skin.Raptiva can be used in other ways not mentioned in the medication guide.

Side effects of Raptiva

If you experience any of the following signs of an allergy to Raptiva, seek emergency medical attention: Hives, difficulty breathing, swelling in your lips, face, throat, or tongue If you experience a severe side effect, such as:

  • Signs of infection, such as fevers, chills, and sore throats.
  • Signs of an infection on the skin, including redness, tenderness, and swelling.
  • Dark urine or pale skin; confusion or weakness.
  • Changes in mental health, difficulty speaking or walking, and decreased vision are all symptoms that can occur gradually.
  • Chest pain, tightness or stabbing, difficulty breathing, yellow or green-colored mucus;
  • Neck stiffness (stiffness), increased sensitivity to the light, spots of purple on your skin, and/or seizures;
  • If you experience numbness in the feet that spreads upward or weakness of your muscles in your face or neck,
  • Problems with speech, vision, bladder, bowel, and swallowing.

Raptiva may cause less serious side effects, such as:

  • Headache, nausea, or vomiting after taking the drug (especially in the first dose);
  • Back pain
  • Joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
  • Swelling in the hands and feet is a common symptom.

There may be other side effects. For medical advice regarding side effects, call your physician. Alternatively, report adverse events by calling the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Raptiva can increase the risk of severe infections. This includes a virus infection in the brain, which may cause disability or even death. If you are taking certain medications or have a weakened immune system, this risk will be higher. If you experience symptoms like a change in mental condition, difficulty walking or speaking, or decreased sight, call your doctor immediately. The symptoms can start slowly and then get worse very quickly.It is important to have your doctor examine you at least every three to six months during your Raptiva therapy to ensure that you do not develop any serious signs of infection. Don't miss your scheduled doctor visits. Call your doctor if any of the following symptoms occur: fever, chills, or sore throat; flu-like symptoms such as nosebleeds or bleeding gums. You may also experience loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or mouth sores.Tell your doctor before using Raptiva about any other medication you're taking, including other psoriasis medicines or phototherapy. Also mention drugs that weaken the immune system, such as steroids and cancer medications.

Before you take this drug

Raptiva should not be used if you have an allergy to efalizumab. Raptiva can increase the risk of serious infections. This includes a virus infection in the brain, which may lead to death or disability. If you are taking certain medications or have a weakened immune system, this risk will be higher.

You may require a special test or dose adjustment if you suffer from certain medical conditions. Tell your doctor before using Raptiva if:

  • Any active or chronic infection
  • Arthritis;
  • A weak immune system can be caused by certain diseases or medicines.

Raptiva should only be used by people who are up-to-date on their immunizations.FDA pregnancy category C There is no information on whether or not this drug is harmful to a developing baby. If you fall pregnant after stopping Raptiva or during the first 6 weeks of using it, tell your doctor.If you get pregnant after using Raptiva, your name will need to appear on a registry. This registry will track pregnancy outcomes and evaluate whether Raptiva has any impact on the child.There is no way to know if efalizumab can pass into the breast milk or if it would harm a baby who was nursing. You should not take this medicine without first telling your doctor that you are breastfeeding a child.Raptiva can increase the risk of certain cancers. Speak to your doctor regarding your personal risk.

Similar/related drugs

Cosentyx, Otezla, Stelara, Taltz, Soty Ktu, Trianex, and Sernivo

How to take Raptiva?

Raptiva should only be taken as directed by your physician. Use it only as directed. You should follow the instructions on your prescription label.The patient's instructions are included with this medication to ensure safe and efficient use. Please follow the directions. If you have questions, ask your pharmacist or doctor.Raptiva can be injected under the skin. This injection will be administered by your doctor, nurse, or another healthcare provider. It is possible that you will be taught how to administer your medication at home. You should not inject yourself with Raptiva until you fully understand the proper way to administer an injection.Raptiva can be taken once a week. Use the medication on the same date each week.Each time you inject yourself, choose a new location on your abdomen, buttocks, or upper arm. You will be shown by your healthcare provider the safest places to inject medication. Don't inject the medication in the same spot twice.

Raptiva comes as a powder that needs to be diluted with liquid before use. You should know how to mix the medicine and store it properly if you use the injections in your home.The mixture should not be shaken vigorously. Shaking vigorously can make the mix foam. Raptiva should not be injected until the syringe is full. If the color of your medication has changed or if there are particles present, do not use it.Reach out to your doctor directly and obtain a prescription.This medicine comes in a single-use bottle (vial). After one injection, throw away the vial, even if some medication is left.Each disposable needle should only be used once. Use a puncture-proof container to throw away the used needles (ask your pharmacy where and how you can obtain one). This container should be kept out of the reach of pets and children.You may experience nausea, vomiting, and/or headaches a day or two following your first Raptiva dose. Reach out to your doctor directly and obtain a prescription.

Raptiva lowers the blood cells, which help fight infection. This makes it easier to get sick or bleed after an injury, as well as from other people who are ill.It is important to have your doctor examine you at least every three to six months during your Raptiva therapy to ensure that you do not develop any serious signs of infection. Don't miss your scheduled doctor visits.If your symptoms don't improve or worsen while taking Raptiva, call your doctor. Raptiva can make your psoriasis worse. Your doctor might want to check your condition regularly to ensure that it doesn't get worse. Don't miss your follow-up appointments.Raptiva should be stored in its original container in the fridge, away from any light. Don't freeze. Keep the mix at room temperature if you are unable to use your medication immediately. Make sure that the mixture remains clear, pale yellow, or free of particles.

What happens if I miss the dose?

If you missed a Raptiva dosage, call your doctor to get instructions.

What happens if I overdose?

If you suspect that you may have taken too much medicine, seek immediate medical care.An overdose may cause severe vomiting.

What should be avoided?

Stay away from people with colds, flu, or other contagious diseases.Avoid contacting anyone who recently had a “live” vaccine. You could contract the virus. The live vaccines are measles (MMR), mumps (MMR), rubella (RUB), chickenpox, varicella (varicella), nasal flu, and oral polio.

Interaction with other drug

Inform your doctor of all medications that you use, including:

  • Other psoriasis medications or phototherapy
  • Drugs that suppress your immune system, such as steroids or cancer medicines;
  • Cyclosporine is available as Neoral (Sandimmune), Gengraf, and Sandimmune.
  • Tacrolimus, sirolimus, and Rapamune
  • Basiliximab, muromonab CD3 (Orthoclone),
  • Mycophenolate mofetil (cellcept);
  • Azathioprine (Imuran), leflunomide (Arava), and etanercept (Enbrel).

Raptiva may interact with other medications not listed here. Inform your doctor of all prescription and non-prescription medications that you take. Included are vitamins, herbal remedies, mineral supplements, and medications prescribed by doctors. You should not begin taking a new drug without first consulting your doctor.