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Published on May 18, 2006 by Edgar Snyder

Side Effects Linked to Arthritis Drugs

Arthritis Drugs

Rheumatoid arthritis drugs have been associated with serious infection risks for years, but researchers have now found a clear link to cancer.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic studied existing clinical trial data on Johnson & Johnson's Remicade and Abbott Laboratories Humira and believe the incidences of infection and cancer may be higher than originally thought.

Findings show:

  • Unexpected serious infections, such as Tuberculosis, occurred in one out of every 59 patients treated with the drugs for three months to a year.
  • Another form of cancer struck one in every 154 patients treated with the drugs for six months to a year.
  • The cancer association was stronger when higher dosages of the drugs were taken.

Humira and Remicade are approved by the FDA to treat psoriatric and rheumatoid arthritis. Remicade is also used to treat Crohn's disease and ankylosing spondylitis.

Source: "Side-Effect Concerns Grow for Drugs to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis." By Scott Hensley. The Wall Street Journal. May 17, 2006.
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