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HIV & AIDS Health Center

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FDA: Don't Take Amevive With HIV

Psoriasis Drug Cuts White Blood Cells Needed by Immune System
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 18, 2005 -- The FDA and Biogen Idec are warning HIV-positive people not to take the psoriasis drug Amevive.

"Amevive should not be administered to patients infected with HIV," states a letter to doctors from Biogen, which makes Amevive.

The reason is that Amevive lowers counts of CD4+ T-lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that's part of the body's immune system.

In HIV-positive people, lower CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts "might accelerate disease progression or increase complications of disease," states Biogen's letter.

Amevive is a biologic drug used to treat adults with moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis who are candidates for phototherapy (light therapy) or systemic therapy (which affects the whole body).

Psoriasis Psoriasis is common and often chronic (long lasting). It usually causes patches (called plaques) of itchy, scaly, and sometimes inflamed skin.

Possible side effects from Amevive should be reported to the FDA's MedWatch program (online at or by phone at (800) FDA-1088 or (800) 332-1088) or to Biogen ((866) 263-8483).

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