What Is Alefacept Used For?
If you are an adult with a moderate-to-severe case of plaque psoriasis, your healthcare provider may recommend alefacept. It is thought that psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system, and alefacept is used to prevent T-cells (a type of immune system cell) from becoming activated. By reducing the number of T-cells, alefacept can help minimize symptoms of plaque psoriasis.
Alefacept (Amevive®) is a prescription medication licensed to treat moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in adults who are candidates for phototherapy or systemic therapy (medications that are taken by mouth or by injection).
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease. There are several different types of psoriasis, but alefacept is only approved to treat plaque psoriasis.
The symptoms of psoriasis may vary, depending on the type. Plaque psoriasis is characterized by thickened, swollen, and red skin, often covered with silver scales. It is thought that psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system (see Psoriasis Causes for more information).
Psoriasis treatment may include:
- Light treatments (phototherapy)
- Medicines applied to the skin (topical treatment)
- Psoriasis medication, taken either by mouth or by injection, that treats the whole immune system (called systemic therapy).
Alefacept is a type of systemic therapy.
This medication is a fusion protein. In other words, it is a part of an antibody that has been fused to a special protein. Alefacept is thought to work by binding to T-cells (a certain type of immune system cell), preventing them from becoming activated and reducing their number. Overactive T-cells are believed to play a large role in causing the symptoms of plaque psoriasis.