Thursday, November 16, 2006

NYT: Heart Risk for Anemia Drug Epoetin

Thanks to Amalia Goldvaser for sending me the following article in the New York Times -- Heart Risk Seen in Drug for Anemia, by Alex Berenson:

A medical study to be released today suggests that high doses of a best-selling drug used to treat anemia in dialysis and cancer patients may increase the risk of heart problems and deaths.

Almost a million Americans a year receive prescriptions for the drug, known as epoetin, or darbepoetin, a closely related drug also used in anemia treatment. Worldwide, sales of the two drugs — sold under the brand names Epogen, Procrit and Aranesp — topped $9 billion last year for Amgen and Johnson & Johnson, their makers.

Researchers for the study, to be published in The New England Journal of Medicine, divided anemic patients with kidney disease into two groups. One group received epoetin with a goal of almost fully correcting their anemia, a lack of red blood cells associated with fatigue and shortness of breath.


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