Centocor is warning doctors that patients taking Remicade for rheumatoid arthritis suffered a type of cancer, lymphoma, at three times the rate of the general public.
Centocor, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, is the manufacturer of Remicade. The company says the lymphoma incidence rate was six times higher among all patients who took the drug in completed clinical trials.
Experts say such toxic outcomes, however, are still rare, and that the new drugs, on balance, work markedly better than older medications, without such side effects as nausea and fatigue.
The Malvern, Pa.-based company, working with the federal drug regulatory agency, has revised its label to reflect the lymphoma risk.
The label change is the drug’s second in six weeks. In late August, Centocor warned that people taking Remicade for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease can sometimes experience fatal blood and central nervous system disorders.
At least 12 people taking Remicade in combination with other drugs died worldwide.