A few years ago drugs such as Procrit for chemotherapy-related anemia were advertised on television. Viewers were given the impression that this drug was safe and effective and would combat fatigue and give them strength. But now studies have raised questions about the safety of drugs like Procrit, Epogen and Aranesp. The FDA wants health professionals to know that these anemia medicines may increase the risk for heart failure, stroke and death. They may also promote the growth of tumors, just about the last thing a cancer patient needs. The FDA will require doctors who wish to prescribe any of these drugs to undergo special training on the risks and benefits starting in March. As part of the program, patients will be given a leaflet outlining the most important side effects.
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