Thursday, June 05, 2008

Rheumatoid arthritis drug may increase cancer risk

From CBC News:
Sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis who take the antirheumatic drug methotrexate increase their risk of developing certain types of cancer, suggests new research.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory illness that affects the joints, as well as internal organs such as the eyes, lungs or heart. It affects one in 100 Canadians, according to the Arthritis Society of Canada.

Methotrexate suppresses the immune system, which in rheumatoid arthritis is overactive.

Australian researchers studied 459 rheumatoid arthritis patients — 309 women and 150 men — who started taking methotrexate before June 1986.

After 4,273 person-years of followup, which averaged 9.3 years per patient, they found 87 malignancies.

They discovered that the risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in RA patients was five times higher than in the general population. ...more

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