Amevive Side Effects Center
Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Amevive (alefacept) is used for the treatment of moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis in people who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy. It is a protein that works by affecting the body's immune system to decrease plaques/dead skin cells. Common side effects include mild pain/swelling/bleeding at the injection site and chills.
The recommended dose of Amevive is 15 mg intramuscularly once weekly for 12 weeks. Amevive may interact with "live" vaccines. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using Amevive. It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Breastfeeding is not recommended while using this drug.
Our Amevive (alefacept) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is Patient Information in Detail?
Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.
Amevive in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects
Alefacept reduces levels of certain white blood cells in the body. If the level of these white blood cells falls too low, treatment with alefacept may need to be withheld temporarily or discontinued. Your doctor will monitor your white blood cell levels during treatment.
Alefacept may increase the risk of developing cancer. Do not use alefacept without first talking to your doctor if you have cancer or a history of cancer.
Alefacept reduces certain actions of the immune system and may increase the risk of developing a new infection or reactivating a chronic infection that has been latent (inactive). Contact your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms of an infection such as fever or chills, sore throat, coughing, or burning with urination.
Stop using alefacept and seek emergency medical attention if you develop symptoms of an allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives.
Other less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to use alefacept and talk to your doctor if you experience
- sore throat or cough;
- muscle aches;
- chills; or
- pain, discomfort, or inflammation at the injection site.
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Amevive (Alefacept) »
What is Patient Information Overview?
A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.
Amevive Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: symptoms of liver damage (e.g., severe nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin).
Rarely, this medication may increase the risk of developing cancer. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms such as: unusual lumps, swollen glands, skin sores/spots that are new or change appearance.
This medication can lower the body's ability to fight an infection. Tell your doctor promptly if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, muscle aches, or persistent sore throat.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Read the entire patient information overview for Amevive (Alefacept)»
What is Prescribing information?
The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.
Amevive FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
The most serious adverse reactions described elsewhere in the labeling include the following:
- Lymphopenia [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Malignancies [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Serious Infections requiring hospitalization [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Hypersensitivity Reactions [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Clinical Trials Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
Commonly observed adverse events seen in the first course of placebo-controlled clinical trials with at least a 2% higher incidence in the AMEVIVE®-treated patients compared to placebo-treated patients were: pharyngitis, dizziness, increased cough, nausea, pruritus, myalgia, chills, injection site pain, injection site inflammation, and accidental injury. The only adverse event that occurred at a 5% or higher incidence among AMEVIVE®-treated patients compared to placebo-treated patients was chills (1% placebo vs. 6% AMEVIVE®), which occurred predominantly with intravenous administration.
The adverse reactions which most commonly resulted in clinical intervention were cardiovascular events including coronary artery disorder in < 1% of subjects and myocardial infarct in < 1% of subjects. These events were not observed in any of the 413 placebo-treated subjects. The total number of subjects hospitalized for cardiovascular events in the AMEVIVE®-treated group was 1.2% (11/876).
The data described below reflect exposure to AMEVIVE® in a total of 1869 psoriasis patients, of whom 1315 (70%) received 1 to 2 courses of therapy and 554 (30%) received 3 or more courses. The median duration of follow-up was 8.4 months for the patients who received 1 to 2 courses and 27.7 months for the patients who received 3 or more courses of AMEVIVE®. Of the 1869 total patients, 876 received their first course in placebo-controlled studies. The population studied ranged in age from 16 to 84 years, and included 69% men and 31% women. The patients were mostly Caucasian (88%), reflecting the general psoriatic population. Disease severity at baseline was moderate to severe psoriasis.
Effect on Lymphocyte Counts
In the intramuscular study (Study 2), 4% of patients temporarily discontinued treatment and no patients permanently discontinued treatment due to CD4+ T lymphocyte counts below the specified threshold of 250 cells/µL. In Study 2, 10%, 28%, and 42% of patients had total lymphocyte, CD4+, and CD8+ T lymphocyte counts below normal, respectively. Twelve weeks after a course of therapy (12 weekly doses), 2%, 8%, and 21% of patients had total lymphocyte, CD4+, and CD8+ T cell counts below normal.
In the first course of the intravenous study (Study 1), 10% of patients temporarily discontinued treatment and 2% permanently discontinued treatment due to CD4+ T lymphocyte counts below the specified threshold of 250 cells/µL. During the first course of Study 1,22% of patients had total lymphocyte counts below normal, 48% had CD4+ T lymphocyte counts below normal and 59% had CD8+ T lymphocyte counts below normal. The maximal effect on lymphocytes was observed within 6 to 8 weeks of initiation of treatment. Twelve weeks after a course of therapy (12 weekly doses), 4% of patients had total lymphocyte counts below normal, 19% had CD4+ T lymphocyte counts below normal, and 36% had CD8+ T lymphocyte counts below normal.
For patients receiving a second course of AMEVIVE® in Study 1,17% of patients had total lymphocyte counts below normal, 44% had CD4+ T lymphocyte counts below normal, and 56% had CD8+ T lymphocyte counts below normal. Twelve weeks after completing dosing, 3% of patients had total lymphocyte counts below normal, 17% had CD4+ T lymphocyte counts below normal, and 35% had CD8+ T lymphocyte counts below normal [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
In an open-label postmarketing study, subjects with psoriasis were treated with up to three courses of Amevive: each course consisted of Amevive 15 mg intramuscular weekly for twelve weeks, followed by twelve weeks of observation. Lymphocyte counts were assessed at regular intervals during the post-treatment observation period. For subjects whose counts went below 75% of the baseline at any time after the last dose in the study, the time from the last dose to the time that their lymphocyte count returned to ≥ 75% of baseline was analyzed. Of 115 evaluable subjects for total lymphocyte counts, the median time of recovery was 2.1 months with a range of 0.6 to 11.1 months. Of the 123 evaluable subjects for CD4+ T cell counts, the median time to recovery was 2.3 months with the range of 0.6 to 12.4 months. Of the 105 evaluable subjects for CD8+ T cell counts, the median time to recovery was 1.6 months with a range of 0.6 to 8.7 months.
In the 24-week period constituting the first course of placebo-controlled studies, 13 malignancies were diagnosed in 11 AMEVIVE®-treated patients. The incidence of malignancies was 1.3% (11/876) for AMEVIVE®-treated patients compared to 0.5% (2/413) in the placebo group.
Among 1869 patients who received AMEVIVE® at any dose in clinical trials, 43 patients were diagnosed with 63 treatment-emergent malignancies. The majority of the malignancies were non-melanoma skin cancers: 46 cases (20 basal cell, 26 squamous cell carcinomas) in 27 patients. Other malignancies observed in AMEVIVE®-treated patients included melanoma (n=3), solid organ malignancies (n=12 in 11 patients), and lymphomas (n=5); the latter consisted of two Hodgkin's and two non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, and one cutaneous T cell lymphoma (mycosis fungoides).
In the 24-week period constituting the first course of placebo-controlled studies, serious infections (infections requiring hospitalization) were seen at a rate of 0.9% (8/876) in AMEVIVE®-treated patients and 0.2% (1/413) in the placebo group. In patients receiving repeated courses of AMEVIVE® therapy, the rates of serious infections remained similar across courses of therapy. Serious infections among 1869 AMEVIVE®-treated patients included cellulitis, abscesses, wound infections, toxic shock, pneumonia, appendicitis, cholecystitis, gastroenteritis and herpes infections.
In clinical studies, 4 of 1869 (0.2%) patients were reported to experience angioedema: two of these patients were hospitalized. In the 24-week period constituting the first course of placebo-controlled studies, urticaria was reported in 6 ( < 1%) AMEVrVE®-treated patients vs. 1 patient in the control group. Urticaria resulted in discontinuation of therapy in one of the AMEVIVE®-treated patients.
In the 24-week period constituting the first course of placebo-controlled studies, 1.7% (15/876) of AMEVIVE®-treated patients and 1.2% (5/413) of the placebo group experienced ALT and/or AST elevations of at least 3 times the upper limit of normal.
Injection Site Reactions
In the intramuscular study (Study 2), 16% of AMEVIVE®-treated patients and 8% of placebo-treated patients reported injection site reactions. In patients receiving repeated courses of AMEVIVE® intramuscular therapy, the incidence of injection site reactions remained similar across courses of therapy. Reactions at the site of injection were generally mild, typically occurred on single occasions, and included either pain (7%), inflammation (4%), bleeding (4%), edema (2%), non-specific reaction (2%), mass (1%), or skin hypersensitivity ( < 1%). In the clinical trials, a single case of injection site reaction led to the discontinuation of AMEVIVE®.
Approximately 3% (40/1357) of patients receiving AMEVIVE® developed low-titer antibodies to alefacept as determined by an ELISA. When anti-alefacept antibodies were assessed using a dual specificity Biacore assay, 72% (72/100) of patients receiving AMEVIVE® were positive for anti-alefacept antibodies. The long-term immunogenicity of AMEVIVE® is unknown.
Results are highly dependent on the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. Additionally, the observed incidence of antibody positivity in an assay may be influenced by several factors including sample handling, timing of sample collection, concomitant medications, and underlying disease. For these reasons, comparison of the incidence of antibodies to alefacept with the incidence of antibodies to other products may be misleading.
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post approval use of AMEVIVE. Because these reactions are reported voluntary from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
In post-marketing experience there have been reports of malignancies including skin, solid organ, lymphomas and leukemias [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS].
In post-marketing experience there have been reports of infections including sepsis, opportunistic infections (viral, fungal, bacterial), cellulitis, urinary tract infection (UTI), Clostridium difficile colitis and pharyngitis [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS].
In post-marketing experience there have been reports of asymptomatic transaminase elevation, fatty infiltration of the liver, hepatitis, and severe liver failure [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Amevive (Alefacept) »
Additional Amevive Information
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