Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Cholesterol drug cancer warning
Patients have been urged to keep taking a cholesterol-lowering treatment despite a study linking it to higher cancer risk.
A New England Journal of Medicine study linked inegy, a combination of two drugs, to a 50% rise in cancer cases.
The scientists compared the number of cancers arising in patients taking the drug with the number which developed in those given a "placebo" or "dummy" pill, over a four year period.
There were a total of 105 cancer cases among Inergy patients, compared with 70 in the placebo group.
The cancers in both groups were not just one type, but a wide variety, with the difference most obvious in prostate and skin cancers.
An editorial in the journal suggested that more data was needed to rule out the possibility that the drug was to blame, citing the fact that ezetimibe appeared to affect the absorption of molecules involved in the growth of cancer cells.