Merck’s popular osteoporosis drug Fosamax and other similar drugs may carry a risk for esophageal cancer, a Food and Drug Administration official said .
Diane Wysowski of the FDA’s division of drug risk asessment said researchers should check into potential links between so called bisphosphonate drugs and cancer. In a letter in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine, Wysowski said since the initial marketing of Fosamax, known generically as alendronate, in 1995, the FDA has received 23 reports in which patients developed esophageal tumors.
Typically, two years lapsed between the start of the drug and the development of esophageal cancer. Eight patients died, she reported. In Europe and Japan, 21 cases involving Fosamax have been logged, with another six instances where Procter & Gamble’s Actonel or risedronate and Didronel or etidronate. Six of those people died.
Esophagitis, which is an inflammation of the lining of the tube carrying food to the stomach, is already known to be a side effect of the drugs.
Sources: The Times Of India
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