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DRUG MANUFACTURER WARNS OF LYMPHOMA RISK

The manufacturer of infliximab (brand name: Remicade), an anti-arthritis drug, has warned that patients taking the drug developed lymphoma at three times the rate of the general public.  Remicade, which is manufactured by Centocor, is a monoclonal antibody, partially made from mouse substances, which blocks tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a factor in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

Since some arthritis patients have immune system problems, and rheumatoid arthritis is linked with an increased risk of lymphoma, it is not completely clear whether the lymphoma was caused by the drug.  Therefore, the drug is not banned by the F.D.A. and is still available.  However, experts warn that any substance which affects the immune system may predispose to an increased risk of lymphoma.  Similar concerns have been raised about other anti-arthritis drugs which act against TNF, including Enbrel (etanercept, Wyeth) and Humira (adalimumab, Abbott).  These kinds of drugs are also used to treat psoriasis.

Source: http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/SAFETY/2004/safety04.htm#remicade 


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