Health Library: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Efalizumab (Hamster) Solution for injection

What is this medicine?

EFALIZUMAB (e fa li ZOO mab) is used to help relieve the symptoms of psoriasis.

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is given as an injection under the skin once weekly. It is usually given by a health care professional in a hospital or clinic setting.

If you get this medicine at home, you will be taught how to prepare and give this medicine. Use exactly as directed. Use this medicine the same day each week. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or healthcare provider to get one.

A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

  • breathing difficulties

  • bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine

  • changes in vision

  • confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

  • dark urine

  • dizziness

  • fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine

  • redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth

  • severe headaches

  • severe redness, pain, swelling, or stiffness of joints such as hands, knees, or ankles

  • sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg

  • trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

  • unusual bleeding or bruising

  • unusually weak or tired

  • worsening of psoriasis

  • yellowing of the skin and eyes

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • back pain

  • headache

  • joint pain

  • muscle aches

  • nausea

  • swelling of the arms or legs

What may interact with this medicine?

  • other medicines that may suppress your immune system

  • vaccines

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, contact your healthcare provider to find out when to take your next dose and what schedule to follow after that. Do not take double or extra doses.

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store this medicine in the refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees F (36 and 46 degrees C) until you are ready to prepare your injection. Do not freeze or store at room temperature. Once this medicine has been mixed, you should use it right away. If you are unable to inject the drug after mixing, the solution can stay at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Do not use after 8 hours. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • chronic or recurrent infections

  • history of cancer

  • low platelet counts

  • neurological disease like Guillain-Barre syndrome

  • other conditions affecting the immune system

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to Efalizumab, mouse proteins, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

See your healthcare provider regularly while using this medicine. Your healthcare provider may do blood tests including platelet counts before and during treatment to check the effect of this medicine on your body. Do not change your dose or stop taking this medicine without talking with your healthcare provider.

This medicine may decrease your body's ability to fight infections. Call your doctor or health care professional if you have a fever, chills, sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat these symptoms yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding. Be careful not to cut, bruise or injure yourself because you may get an infection and bleed more than usual.

After you stop taking this medication, some side effects can continue and some may not occur until years after the medicine was taken. These effects can include the development of certain types of cancer. Discuss this possibility with your doctor or health care professional.

Some patients have experienced worsening of their condition or new forms of psoriasis while taking this medicine. Tell your healthcare provider right away if your psoriasis gets worse or if you see any new rashes during or after treatment.

You should not receive vaccines while using this medicine. Efalizumab may prevent a vaccine from working. Talk to your health care provider if you need to receive a vaccine while using this medicine.