Psoriasis Drug Investigated in 4 Deaths

The FDA is investigating a potential link between the psoriasis drug efalizumab, sold under the brand name Raptiva. The drug has been linked to potentially four deaths. The link is associated with a rare degenerative condition of the brain known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy which is characterized by neurological disorders such as mental deterioration, loss of vision, and other unspecified neurological symptoms. The investigation is in its infancy stages and was reported a few days ago on the LA Times health blog.
The disease (PML) is caused by the reactivation of a common virus in the central nervous system in those with compromised or weakened immune systems. It is most common in those with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). If not treated with an effective antiretroviral therapy, the disease can be become rapidly fatal.