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Alemtuzumab safety review

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced today that it's conducting a review into the safety of alemtuzumab (brand name Lemtrada).

Why are the EMA reviewing alemtuzumab?

The EMA are responding to new reports of side effects affecting the heart, blood vessels, liver and immune system.

These side effects are rare but could be serious.

What does this mean for people with MS?

If you're being treated with alemtuzumab and benefiting from it, you can continue taking the treatment.

While the review is going on, health professionals will only prescribe alemtuzumab to new patients if other medicines haven't worked or aren't suitable.

What are the side effects to look out for?

The EMA has advised people taking alemtuzumab to keep an eye out for the following symptoms and seek immediate medical advice if they occur:

  • sudden heart problems such as trouble breathing and chest pain
  • coughing up blood
  • drooping of the face
  • sudden severe headache
  • weakness on one side
  • difficulty with speech
  • neck pain
  • a yellowing of skin or eyes
  • dark urine
  • bleeding or bruising more easily than normal
  • fever
  • swollen glands
  • bruising
  • skin rash

If you're unsure about any of the above or have questions about alemtuzumab, you should speak to your neurologist.

When will the review end?

The EMA haven't confirmed the exact date, but we'll let you know as soon as we have news.

And we'll keep our information updated with any changes along the way.

You can read more about the review on the European Medicine Agency's website.