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Health Canada issues alert on Revlimid side effects risk

Filed May 7th, 2012 Laurie

Health Canada and the makers of Revlimid (lenalidomide) have issued an alert on possible complications, including the onset of a secondary cancer, suffered by people taking the drug.

Revlimid is prescribed in the treatment of a condition known as deletion 5q myelodysplastic syndrome (del 5q MDS) who require blood transfusions for anemia (low red blood cell counts). It is also dispensed to patients suffering from multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells) who’ve undergone another treatment with no success.

According to the agency, copying a statement from Celgene Inc., patients taking Revlimid are at risk of suffering several serious side effects:

*Second cancers such as skin cancers or other invasive solid tumors have been reported in a small number of patients with multiple myeloma.

*These cases have been reported in patients while taking REVLIMID® or after treatment with REVLIMID® is completed.

*Patients should talk to their healthcare professionals if they have any concerns about their own increased risk of having other cancers.

For a patient to be prescribed Revlimid in Canada, they must meet all the conditions outlined in the RevAid program, a controlled distribution system used for Revlimid.

Celgene has informed all physicians via a similarly worded letter to the Health Canada alert, notifying them of the added precautions associated with Remvlimid.

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