Arthritis drugs safer than previously declared

by Monisha on  November 8, 2006 at 12:39 PM Drug News   - G J E 4
Arthritis drugs safer than previously declared
A recently done review of findings published earlier, proves that the previous report exaggerated the risk that two drugs show in raising the risk of cancer in those who use them.

Research done by Dr. Eric Matteson and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York in May 2006, dealing with the study of two drugs 'Humira' and 'Remicade' used currently by physicians to treat rheumatoid arthritis surfaced with findings that pointed out a heavy probability of development of cancer and infections like tuberculosis, in those who use them regularly.This information was was exhibited on labels according to the order of the FDA six months earlier.

However several teams of researchers have since then studied the same drugs all over again in a review to re affirm if they actually triple the chances of cancerous lesions and infections. Their review has projected new data which hints that risk of cancer is not as high as that was proclaimed in the previous studies. The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a number of letters from researchers who have reviewed the drugs again which claims that the use of drug Humira and Remicade only doubles the chances of carcinoma and may work against other auto immune diseases such as skin conditions such as psoriasis, ulcerative colitis.

Almost all the researchers, and the U.S. FDA feel in unison that it is the right of every to know about the risks but also opine that the benefits reflect that the drugs should stay on the market.

Matteson and his colleagues re did the analysis done in May and after considering certain data which were not analysed earlier reached the conclusion that the drugs may not triple the chances of cancer but only double the chances as these two drugs act on the auto immune system blocking the action of TNF-alpha one of the target compounds which mistakenly signals to the immune system to attack the joints as in rheumatoid arthritis.It is now an established fact that any drug that is capable of modifying the immune system can also cause cancer.

Another drug of the same class Enbrel is also being studied by researchers to look into possibilities of causing cancer or infections.

The market for drugs to treat Rheumatoid arthritis is on an upswing following the increase in number of Americans that are affected by rheumatoid arthritis according to the findings noted by market research company Research and Markets.

Source: Medindia

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