Thursday, February 18, 2010

FDA Safety Announcement - Anti-Anemia drugs

When I was in chemotherapy back in 2005-2006 there were weeks I had low red blood counts. My doctor prescribed Procrit. Procrit is known as a Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agent. (Heck of a name ~ er -ith- row-poi - ee- sis. ) It stimulated the bone marrow to make more red blood cells. It did its job since the next time I had blood work my red count would return to normal. At the time I never wanted to run the risk of low blood counts and then not receive my scheduled chemo.

Since then studies have shown that patients who receive these Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents ( Epogen, Procrit, and Aranesp) are at increased risk of tumor growth, blood clots, heart attack and even death. The FDA reviewed the practices of prescribing this class of drug and earlier this week issued a Drug Safety Communication:Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents (ESAs) :Procrit, Epogen, Aranesp

The FDA is requiring that these drugs be prescribed under a risk management program where patients receive a medication guide with the risk and benefits,and the drug manufacturer, Amgen , will develop a oncology training program for doctors who prescribe the drugs. Only doctors and hospitals who have enrolled and finished the training programs will be allowed to prescribe the drugs. Amgen will be required to monitor the hospitals/ providers for compliance. Further information can be found on the FDA site.

This is just one more area in which cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, as well as kidney failure patients and HIV patients, must become knowledgeable. Another topic to speak to our oncologists about. I know during my first rounds of chemotherapy I was still pretty dazed with all the information about ovarian cancer,the side effects of the carbo/taxol, the benefit of selenium, I'm not sure if I would have been able to get my head around another area of risk.
Hopefully I won't need to consider using these drugs any time soon.


Every day is a Blessing! I have been blessed with time - time to spend with my daughter.

No comments: