Monday, July 24, 2006

Class of Cancer Drugs Cause Heart Failure

Every day, I could do a new post about drugs that have unintended consequences. Here are the consequences:

"Clinical trials of the agent, however, have reported a relatively high incidence of peripheral edema (63% to 66%), some of which has been classified as severe (4% to 5%)," they wrote. "In addition, dyspnea has been reported in 12% to 16% of treated individuals and has been classified as severe in 4% to 5%."

"Although these symptoms and signs are difficult to evaluate in individuals with CML, it has become apparent to us in clinical practice that many individuals, including those reported herein, have developed left ventricular dysfunction and even frank congestive heart failure without a prior history of heart disease."

They characterized Gleevec as a "wonderful drug and patients with these diseases need to be on it." Nevertheless, "we're trying to call attention to the fact that Gleevec and other similar drugs coming along could have significant side effects on the heart and clinicians need to be aware of this."

The researchers recommended that patients taking Gleevec should be followed closely for signs of heart failure.
While this drug helps a majority of people, dying does seem like an adverse side effect. It also calls into question the absolute authority doctors enjoy when demanding that patients take a "life-saving" drug that makes them feel worse and could, in fact, make them sick.

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