Written by: Laura Beasley, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.
The topic of breast cancer is extensive because it has different forms, which means there are different treatments depending on the type a person has. MedPage Today recently published an article, "FDA: Novel Breast Ca Drugs Linked to Severe Lung Illness", which discusses how some specific drugs used to treat breast cancer can cause severe lung issues and even death.
The FDA put out this warning on September 13th, 2019 after the release of data from completed and ongoing post-marketing trials on the drugs Ibrance, Kisqali, and Verzenio. These drugs were approved by the FDA just a few years ago: Ibrance in 2015, Kisqali in 2017, and Verzenio in 2017.
These kinds of drugs are called CDK4/6 inhibitors and are, "used in combination with hormone therapies for patients with advanced or metastatic hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer."
In the recently published September 13th, 2019 FDA Drug Safety Communication, "FDA Warns About Rare but Severe Lung Inflammation with Ibrance, Kisqali, and Verzenio for Breast Cancer", the FDA now recognizes there may be some rare but troublesome side effects from these breast cancer drugs, specifically regarding lung issues other respiratory issues. As a result, the FDA describes that:
Health care professionals should monitor patients regularly for pulmonary symptoms indicative of pneumonitis or interstitial lung disease. Signs and symptoms may include hypoxia, cough, dyspnea, or interstitial infiltrates on radiology exams in patients in whom infectious, neoplastic, and other causes have been excluded.
These breast cancer drugs are viewed by medical professionals as more beneficial than harmful, however, respiratory and lung issues need to be taken into serious consideration here. The FDA Drug Safety Communication notes that symptoms such as "difficulty or discomfort with breathing and shortness of breath while at rest or with low activity" should be monitored.
As always, we will continue to provide information and updates on the broad topic of breast cancer as new developments come along.
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