Alefacept: a safety profile.
Author(s): Scheinfeld N
Affiliation(s): Dept of Dermatology, St Lukes Hospital, NY, NY 10025, USA. NSS32@columbia.org
Publication date & source: 2005-11, Expert Opin Drug Saf., 4(6):975-85.
Publication type: Review
Alefacept is a selective immunomodulating, antipsoriatic drug that blocks the LFA-3/CD2 interaction necessary for the activation and proliferation of memory effector T cells by binding to CD2 expressed on the T cell surface. Because the CD4+ count is reduced by alefacept, it is recommended that this count be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that it does not drop below 250 cells/mul. Few side effects have been related to the use of alefacept that differ from placebo even when CD4+ counts drop below 250 cells/microl. The side effects that have been reported are minor and include: headache, nasopharyngitis, rhinitis, influenza, upper respiratory tract infections, pruritus, arthralgias, fatigue, nausea, accidental injury and increases in liver enzymes. Serious infections and malignancies do not appear linked to the use of alefacept. The percentage of patients who developed antibodies against alefacept is very low. Alefacept is a very safe biological therapy for moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis with few side effects reported. The utility of checking CD4 counts while administering alefacept for 12 weeks appears minimal.