Aranesp Lable Changes. Aranesp, an anemia drug often used to treat chemotherapy patients, could soon have safety information on its label updated yet again, the drug’s maker announced last week.
Amgen Inc. announced that it was considering label changes for Aranesp after the results of a study done on breast cancer patients treated with the drug showed that it offered them little help, and also placed them at a higher risk of death.
The Aranesp breast cancer study was one of 5 clinical trials that Amgen had agreed to after the safety of Aranesp was called into question. Aranesp, and two other drugs made by Amgen, Epogen and Procrit, are all part of a class of drugs known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs). Procrit is marketed by Johnson & Johnson under a licensing agreement with Amgen.
ESAs treat anemia in patients with kidney disease or certain cancers by boosting red blood cells. However, several studies have linked the anemia drugs to cardiovascular problems and deaths. They have also been tied to worsening tumors when used in cancer patients.