Effectiveness of Avastin Questioned After Numerous Harmful Side Effects Reported
Last Updated on May 1, 2020
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At A Glance
- This Alert Affects
- Patients given Avastin for colon cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, brain and lung cancer. and metastatic breast cancer.
- Blindness, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, necrotizing fasciitis.
- Genetech Inc, Roche.
- Additional Details
- Avastin remains in use for non-breast cancer treatments.
- FDA label for use in treating breast cancer was removed in 2010
Avastin became the best selling cancer drug in the world before the FDA removed its breast cancer label in 2010 amid suggestions the drug was not, in fact, effective in the treatment of cancer. It has also been linked to a range of very serious side effects including blindness, stroke, and the potentially deadly skin infection necrotizing fasciitis.
Uses for Avastin
Avastin was initially approved in 2004 as a drug treatment for colon cancer for its impact on blood vessels carrying nutrients to tumors. It was subsequently also approved for use on breast, kidney, brain and lung cancers, and in 2008 for use on metastatic breast cancer – an approval that came through the FDA’s accelerated approval program after initial reports seemed positive. The FDA’s consequent removal of Avastin’s label for breast cancer treatment argued that while Avastin can be shown to delay the cancer’s development to worse stages for a time, there is no significant effect on patient’s lives. The use of the drug is thus especially meritless considering its extreme cost – often near $100,000 a year. The FDA voted in 2010, following multiple trials, to recommend the removal of the breast cancer label, noting that the benefits were not justified when weighed against potential risks. This does not affect either the drug’s continued use or the drug’s use in colon, brain, and lung cancer cases.
Avastin Side Effects
Patients who have used Avantis may suffer from unexpected and serious side effects. These can include, but are not limited to:
- High blood pressure
- Necrotizing Fasciitis (a potentially fatal skin infection)
- Heart attack
- Bleeding and hemorrhaging
- Developing holes in the body
Blindness can occur if Avastin is used as an off-label treatment for macular degeneration. Avastin is approved as a cancer drug by the FDA and has never been cleared for use to treat macular degeneration or any eye diseases. A range of problems, including blindness, have been reported in patients given the drug in this way. Those taking Avastin for lung cancer have also been linked to bleeding that may lead to stroke heart failure, kidney damage, or death.
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