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Precautions and Warnings With Alefacept

Alefacept lowers the level of certain T-cells in the body; while this may reduce symptoms of plaque psoriasis, it can also put you at risk for serious infections if the level is too low. To ensure your safety, your healthcare provider will monitor your T-cell counts before starting alefacept. Warnings and precautions also apply to pregnant women, people with allergies, and people with HIV.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Beginning Treatment?

Prior to using alefacept (Amevive®), talk to your healthcare provider if you have:
 
  • A history of tuberculosis or hepatitis B
  • Any current infection
  • Infections that come and go, such as cold sores
  • Any disease that affects the immune system, such as diabetes, cancer, HIV, or AIDS
  • A history of any type of cancer
  • Plans to receive vaccinations
  • Liver disease, such as hepatitis, liver failure, or cirrhosis
  • Any allergies, including to food, dyes, or preservatives.
     
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
     
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Alefacept Warnings and Precautions

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking alefacept include the following:
 
  • This medication lowers the level of certain T-cells, which are important immune system cells. Having low T-cells increases your risk for serious infections. Your healthcare provider should check your CD4+ T-cell counts (using a simple blood test) before you start a course of alefacept and every two weeks while you are receiving the injections.
If your cell count is low, you will need to stop this medication temporarily, and weekly monitoring will be recommended. If your cell count remains low for a month or more, you should permanently stop taking alefacept.
  • Medications like alefacept may increase the risk of cancer because they suppress the immune system. Make sure your healthcare provider knows if you have a history of cancer, or even just a family history of it.
     
  • You should probably not receive live vaccines while taking alefacept. Talk to your healthcare provider before receiving any vaccines while taking this medication.
     
  • Alefacept can potentially interact with a few other medications (see Drug Interactions With Alefacept).
     
  • People taking alefacept should not receive phototherapy at the same time.
     
  • A few cases of liver damage possibly related to alefacept have been reported. It is not yet clear if these cases were actually related to the medication or not.
     
  • In rare cases, alefacept can cause serious allergic reactions.
     
  • Alefacept is considered a pregnancy Category B medication. This means that it is probably safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not currently known (see Amevive and Pregnancy).
     
  • It is unknown if alefacept passes through breast milk in humans. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Amevive and Breastfeeding).
     

Alefacept Drug Information

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