Saturday, February 13, 2010

Antidepressant reduces effectiveness of cancer drug

From the Vancouver Sun:
Paxil, an antidepressant commonly prescribed to women with breast cancer, can reduce or even abolish the effects of the breast-cancer drug tamoxifen, increasing a woman's risk of death, Canadian researchers are warning.

Published this week in the British Medical Journal, the study exposes an "extremely common" and potentially life-threatening drug interaction that is "widely underappreciated," yet entirely avoidable, the researchers say.

"For women taking these two drugs together, I think there are better options for the treatment of depression," Dr. David Juurlink, a senior scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto and one of the study's authors said in a statement.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide; an estimated 1.5 million new cases will be diagnosed globally this year, including about 22,700 in Canada.

Tamoxifen has been used for the treatment of breast cancer for more than three decades. For women with early stage estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, the drug reduces the risk of recurrence by about half, and the risk of cancer death by about one-third, according to the study. ...more

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