FDA Revokes Approval of Avastin for Treatment of Breast Cancer

"photo of Avastin"On November 18, 2011, the FDA revoked its approval of  Avastin (bevacizumab) for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. According to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, evidence shows that the risks associated with this medication outweigh the possible benefits. Although early studies were encouraging, follow-up studies fail to support these findings and clearly demonstrate the potentially life-threatening side effects of Avastin. These side effects include severe hypertension, hemorrhage, and perforations of the stomach, nose and intestines.

Avastin retains FDA approval for the treatment of colon, kidney, lung and brain cancer. Furthermore, doctors may continue to prescribe Avastin off-label for the treatment of breast cancer, and Medicare has stated it will continue to cover the cost of the medication.

Click here for the FDA Statement revoking approval


Teen Driving: Fatal Crashes and Older Teens

teen driversAccording to a recent study, strict driver education requirements have resulted in fewer fatal accidents involving teens. However, these encouraging statistics apply to 16 year old drivers; fatal accidents involving 18 year olds have actually increased. The study reveals that many teens are opting to postpone getting their license until they reach 18 in order to by pass the tough licensing laws and driver restrictions placed on younger teens. In addition to requiring ¬†driver education courses, state driving laws usually require longer permit periods, restrict night time driving and regulate passengers for younger teens. 18 year olds are not subject to these laws and in many states they receive a driver’s license in a matter of weeks. The study suggests that lack of education and experience is partially responsible for the increase in fatal accidents among this age group.

Details of the study are available in the Abstract on the JAMA website, and the NPR Health Blog. For advise on teen driving safety, see the AAA Guide to Teen Driver Safety.