TNF Inhibitors Likely Source of 11 Pediatric Lymphoma Deaths

Here we go again.

In June 2008, the FDA announced it was looking into a possible link between TNF inhibitors and cancer, and what it found was almost 50 cases of malignant pediatric cancer and almost 150 cases of both pediatric and adult leukemia. Lymphomas ultimately claimed the lives of 11 of those children and teenagers.

These drugs already have a black-box warning as being potentially cancer-causing—a black-box warning is an FDA warning on the drug's label, named so because it's surrounded by a black border—now the FDA says the warning needs to be changed to include the risk of pediatric lymphoma and other pediatric cancers.

This is likely another sickening case of the powerful drug companies influencing premature FDA approval of their drugs before all the risks had been properly explored, for reasons grounded in nothing but greed.

What are TNF Inhibitors?

TNF inhibitors, also called TNF blockers, are a class of immune-disease drugs used to treat a number of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn's disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. These diseases cause the excess production of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF), a protein. TNF inhibitors block the action of the protein.

The drugs at issue are:

Remicade (infliximab), made by Centocor
Enbrel (etanercept), made by Amgen
Humira (adalimumab), made by Abbott Laboratories
Cimzia (Certolizumab pegol), made by UCB
Simponi (Golimumab), made by Centocor

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