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MHRA issues alert on eye risks associated with cell growth drugs used in cancer treatment

Filed May 23rd, 2012 Laurie

In a Drug Safety Update from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom, side effects of taking epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors in the treatment of cancer.

Examples of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors are Vectibix (panitumumab), Erbitux (cetuximab), Tarceva (erlotinib), Iressa (gefitinib), and Vectibix (panitumumab). The drugs are used to promote cell growth to treat EGFR tumors.

The update from MHRA indicates that taking a epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor can cause serious cases of keratitis and ulcerative keratitis. The agency also indicates it could cause corneal abrasions and blindness. Patients with a history of keratitis, ulcerative keratitis, or even severe dry eye may face a heightened risk of these conditions while taking EGFR inhibitors.

Patients taking an EGFR inhibitor and their prescribing physicians should be alert for signs of a potential eye emergency caused by the drug inciting these serious side effects. These early signs include eye inflammation, increased lacrimation, light sensitivity, blurred vision, eye pain, and red eye.

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