Failure to Warn

June 6, 2017
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When a new remedy for rheumatoid arthritis arrived, ads called it a “unique” breakthrough that would “transform expectations” for patients and doctors. “If I knew then what I know now about rheumatoid arthritis, I would have been more proactive,” said one young woman, pictured happily kayaking.

Treatments for the disabling disease afflicting about 1.5 million Americans can have terrifying side effects, so doctors and patients were excited when Actemra reached the U.S. market in 2010. Unlike competing drugs, it wasn’t associated with heart attacks, heart failure, or life-threatening lung complications.

Yet hundreds of patients taking Actemra have died from such problems, and many more have suffered harm. STAT analyzed more than 500,000 side-effect reports on rheumatoid arthritis drugs, and found clear evidence that the risks of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and other conditions were as high or higher for Actemra patients than for patients taking some competing drugs.

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Image: By Jojo z polskiej Wikipedii – Na Commons przeniósł z pl.wikipedia użytkownik Masur z pomocą narzędzia CommonsHelper., Domena publiczna, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6464338

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