Serious Side Effects More Likely in New Cancer Drugs

July 23, 2012

Reuters Health reports that many new cancer drugs may come at a price - including a higher risk of diarrhea, skin problems and high blood pressure - according to an analysis of studies used to get those medications approved. Researchers said patients should know that serious side effects - or toxicities - with newer chemotherapy or targeted cancer drugs might be "unusual" - and they should discuss anything that doesn't seem right with their doctor. The study showed the newer cancer drugs caused significantly more side effects, and more treatment-related deaths, than their older counterparts. "You've got to consider both efficacy and toxicity in the picture," said Susan Ellenberg, PhD, professor of Biostatistics, who has studied drug side effects. She said the analysis wasn't so surprising, and isn't "a big alarm."

 Reuters Health article