Deaths Linked to Anti-Anemia Drugs Probed

By October 21, 2008Dangerous Drugs

Last month, the preliminary results of a German study were released that suggest stroke patients who take certain anti-anemia drugs increase their chances of dying.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned on Sept. 26 that a clinical trial investigating the use of high doses of epoetin alfa to treat acute ischemic stroke found that patients who received the drugs died nearly twice as often as the patients who received the placebo. Sixteen percent of patients who received the anti-anemia drugs died. Patients who received a placebo had a nine percent death rate.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, epoetin alfa is used in drugs such as Aransep, Procrit and Epogen. Although the drugs are on the U.S. market, they have not been approved for use in stroke recovery.
This past July, the FDA required the makers of Aransep and Procrit warning that the drugs can cause cancer tumors to spread and raise the risk of bleeding. Although an FDA advisory committee recommended keeping the drugs on the market, the committee urged that they not be used in people with curable cancer.
In its most recent safety warning, the FDA indicated it will be reviewing additional data over the course of several weeks. Once the review is complete, the FDA will issue conclusions and recommendations.
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