TUESDAY, Oct. 28, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A new drug to combat psoriasis has won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Raptiva (efalizumab) is intended for patients at least 18 years old who have moderate-to-severe cases of the chronic condition, with symptoms including itchy, scaly patches on the skin. Scientists think it's caused by overactive immune system cells known as memory effector T cells, which cause portions of the skin to become inflamed.
The medication is meant to be self-administered with a once-weekly injection, according to Raptiva's manufacturers, Genentech Inc. and Xoma Ltd. The drug, clinically tested on more than 2,700 volunteers, caused side effects including headache, chills, nausea, pain and flu-like symptoms.
The National Institutes of Health says psoriasis affects up to 2.6 percent of the United States population, or 7.5 million people.