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Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy and HIV

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) has been documented in HIV-positive individuals and AIDS patients many times since the start of the outbreak of HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s. The damaged immune systems of people with HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus), or AIDS are quite vulnerable to developing progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, which is caused by the JC virus.

PML and HIV Patients

Although PML is in the news lately because it's now found in individuals who do not have HIV or AIDS ? rather, their PML appears to have been caused by the now-recalled Raptiva? or Tysabri treatment ? progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy is a very rare disease that was once observed primarily among patients with HIV or AIDS.

Some studies have estimated that five percent of AIDS patients developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Before the advent of effective HIV therapy, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy was nearly always fatal, with a very rapid onset. Today, with better treatment for HIV/AIDS, the fatality rate from progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy among those with HIV has dropped to 50 percent. In contrast, the fatality rate from progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy among individuals who do not have HIV or AIDS remains high: roughly 80 percent of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy sufferers with non-AIDS backgrounds die within six months of being diagnosed with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.

PML and HIV/AIDS Treatment

For an individual who has contracted progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy after acquiring HIV, the immediate initiation of anti-retroviral therapy can be of benefit. Anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy, also known as ART, slows down the progression of a virus such as HIV. A typical ARV agent is ara-c (cytarabine). Other ARV drugs are known as protease inhibitors.

PML Treatment News for non-HIV Patients

For individuals who have contracted progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy following psoriasis treatment with Raptiva or multiple sclerosis therapy with Tysabri, the outlook is worse and the survival rate remains poor. The drug cidofovir has been tried in this context and other drugs are under study, but none have shown significant benefit for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy patients. There are treatment options, however, to increase the quality of life for those suffering from the infection.

The Legal Rights of Individuals with PML

If a diagnosis of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy has befallen you or a member of your family, you should be apprised of your legal rights. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary case evaluation with an experienced progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy attorney who will evaluate your situation and determine whether you are eligible to recover compensation for your losses.

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Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy News

  • Risk of Fatal Infection Sparks Raptiva Recall

    April 9, 2009

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a voluntary Raptiva recall, April 8, 2009. The Psoriasis drug’s manufacturer, Genentech, announced the voluntary Raptiva recall and has begun phasing the drug off the U.S. market. Raptiva will no longer be … Continue reading