The FDA announced today that the manufacturer of the psoriasis drug Rapitva has begun a voluntary withdrawal of the prescription drug from the U.S. Market. The withdrawal is due to the risk of patients developing Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML). PML is a progressive neurological disease caused by a virus in the central nervous system. It is often thought of as a brain infection and causing brain damage. Symptoms include clumsiness, muscle weakness, vision and speech impairment and mental deterioration, memory failure or dementia. there is no known treatment or cure for PML.
In October 2008, the FDA required that the label for Raptiva be updated to warn of the risk of serious infections, including PML. In February of this year, the FDA advised that 3 deaths due to PML had been associated with the use of Raptiva.
Patients should never stop taking prescription medication without the advice and approval of their doctor. Stopping Raptiva can have serious side effects, so patients should consult their physicians before taking any action.