FDA Issues a Warning for Avastin — Again

The problems with the cancer drug Avastin are never ending. The FDA has issued a another warning about the drug’s dangers, this time involving ovarian failure, jaw necrosis (bone decay), blot clots and excessive bleeding.

We’ve written about Avastin as well, most recently last week in regard to its use as an injectable drug for macular dengeration, and about the risks it poses for breast cancer patients.

To explore just one of the reasons for the new warning, consider a study that found that 34% of women treated with Avastin during chemotherapy suffered ovarian failure, and most have not recovered their full fertility; only 2% given chemotherapy alone experienced ovarian failure.

Avastin was approved by the FDA in 2004 to treat nonsmall cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer in combination with chemotherapy. It received approval in 2008 to treat breast cancer, but that was revoked in 2010, and reconfirmed in June of this year.

When used for its original purpose, Avastin’s side effects can include high blood pressure, heart attacks, heart failure and the development of holes in the nose, stomach and intestines. All drugs carry the risk of side effects. Sometimes, they’re worth it. Increasingly, expanded use indicates that that’s not the case with Avastin.

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