While Raptiva and Rituxan are used to treat two different types of medical conditions, they have a few things in common. One is that they're both used to treat immune system diseases. The other is that both of these medications have been linked to a serious and sometimes fatal disease known as Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy, or PML. And finally, they both share the same manufacturer – Genentech. Raptiva was actually removed from the market when the findings were released concerning its connection to PML, but despite evidence suggesting that Rituxan can cause the disease as well it remains on the market and is prescribed to many patients each year.
While each of these drugs carries its own set of side effects, just like any other drug, the reason that Raptiva and Rituxan are so dangerous is that they can greatly increase the chances of developing Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy, or PML. This is a condition that affects the central nervous system and presents itself with the following symptoms:
If you have used either Raptiva or Rituxan and developed any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. PML is actually caused by a virus that is estimated to be dormant in around eighty percent of the adult population. If the body's immune system is weakened, there is a chance that the virus will activate itself and overtake the brain. The disease attacks the brain's white matter and can often cause death within three to six months in most patients who develop it. Due to the fact that Raptiva and Rituxan reduce the immune system of the body, it isn't hard to see why the drugs are linked to PML.
At the moment, Rituxan is still on the market and has now been linked to fifty seven cases of PML. Interestingly, Genentech removed Raptiva from the market after only four cases of PML were linked to it, while choosing to leave Rituxan available. It's also important to understand that several other very serious symptoms have been connected to the use of these drugs. These symptoms include:
Both Raptiva and Rituxan are used to help combat problems associated with the immune system. In the case of Raptiva, it is used to help treat psoriasis. Rituxan is a drug used to help combat some types of leukemia and to combat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Both are injectable drugs and both work by reducing the body's immune system, which helps stop cell growth that causes the conditions in question. And while they are effective at helping overcome these conditions, the evidence is overwhelming that they may increase the risk of developing the dangerous neurological condition Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy, or PML for short.