Thursday, February 28, 2008

News about Anemia drugs- JAMA

When cancer patients experience chemo induced anemia (low hemoglobin levels) they sometimes are prescribed erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs). Two commonly used drugs are called Aranesp from Amgen and Procrit from Johnson & Johnson. Yesterday, the NY Times published a column describing the results of a study printed in JAMA of clinical trials that used those drugs. The study concluded that cancer patients given the ESA's were shown to have decreased survival rates and increased incidence of blood clots.

I took Procrit a few times during my treatment so this article really makes me think about what I would do faced with postponing chemo due to low hemoglobin/red cells. I guess the FDA will have to consider if the risk of taking the drug outweighs what would occur if patients treatments were postponed due to low hemoglobin/ red count.

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