FDA Approves Drug That Reduces Drastic Effect Chemotherapy Has on the Immune System of Cancer Patients

Cancer has affected millions of people in some shape or form. According to the CDC, 12.7 million people from around the world are diagnosed with cancer each year and 7.6 million of them die from the disease. Whenever a new drug or treatment is approved by the federal government there is hope that it will either bring us closer to a cure or that it will help reduce the symptoms. On August 29, 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug produced by Sicor Biotech known as tbo-filgrastim. The drug reduces the amount of time a cancer patient needs to recover after receiving chemotherapy treatment.

Tbo-filgrastim is effective for people who aren’t suffering from a form of bone marrow cancer or blood cancer. The recently approved drug can be used to combat the severe neutropenia cancer patients experience as a result of chemotherapy. Neutropenia is a decrease in the number of white blood cells created in bone marrow called neutrophils. Neutrophils fight microorganisms in the body that cause infections.

Chemotherapy is widely known as a systematic drug treatment used on cancer patients. The drugs used for chemotherapy essentially poison a person by causing a severe decrease in the amount of white blood cells the body creates. As the chemotherapy drugs are attacking the white blood cells we need, they are also attacking the cancer cells forming in the body.

Oncologists are always trying to find that fine balance between using enough chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells while retaining as many white blood cells as possible. Without our white blood cells we become more vulnerable to infections and other ailments. After a chemotherapy treatment the oncologist will allow the patient’s body to rest and recover for a certain period of time before starting any additional chemotherapy. Blood tests are also taken so that the physician can assess if the patient is strong enough to handle the potential effects of treatment.

There are several side effects of chemotherapy. The reduction in white blood cells and red blood cells that occur as a result of chemotherapy causes multiple physical problems. Nausea, hair loss and fatigue are among the most common side effects. Some patients will have blood clotting problems. Since the body isn’t able to stop bleeding like it normally would patients can bruise more easily and may have nosebleeds or start bleeding from the gums. Patients may also develop ulcers on their mouth, lips and tongue which make it more difficult to eat, drink and talk.

When a cancer patient receives an injection of tbo-filgrastim within 24 hours after getting chemotherapy treatment the bone marrow will be stimulated to produce more neutrophils in the body. When more neutrophils are made the body becomes stronger and this lowers the patient’s recovery period. It is one of many drugs that have been produced within the past few years to control the severity of the side effects people experience from cancer treatment. 

Prior to being approved by the FDA, tbo-filgrastim was assessed in a clinical study involving 348 adults with advanced breast cancer. The results from the study showed that adults who received tbo-filgrastim recovered from a severe loss of white blood cells within 1.1 days while people who didn’t receive the drug recovered within 3.8 days.

If you want to know more about tbo-filgrastim or if you were seriously harmed as a result of using a defective drug, contact a dangerous drug attorney lawyer. Schedule a free initial consultation so that an experienced personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case. 

This article was contributed by Andy Sampson, client manager for Price Benowitz Law Firm

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