Sunday, October 14, 2007

New Drug Approved to Fight Breast Cancer

The Food and Drug Administration Friday approved the use of the osteoporosis drug Evista to prevent invasive breast cancer in some groups of post-menopausal women who are at risk for breast cancer.

"Today's action provides an important new option for women at heightened risk of breast cancer," Dr. Steven Galson, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a prepared news release. The statement cautioned that because Evista can have serious side effects, each patient should talk with her health care provider about whether the drug is appropriate.

Side effects of Evista are said to include blood clots and stroke, along with lesser symptoms such as hot flashes, leg cramps, swelling of the legs and feet, flu-like symptoms, joint pain, and sweating, according to the FDA.

The drug's maker, Eli Lilly and Company, said, "For the first time, postmenopausal women with osteoporosis will have one treatment option that can help address two leading health concerns -- osteoporosis and invasive breast cancer."

The only other drug that has been approved for reducing the chance of breast cancer is tamoxifen, which has had a controversial history due to its side effects.

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