Remicade was trumpeted as a wonder drug for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease when licensed for use six years ago.
It was such a wonder drug, in fact, that sufferers in Canada were lobbying doctors to prescribe it, and patients with psoriasis were praying for the day when it would be approved for their use as well.
This was an amazingly warm reception for a drug that could bring on TB among the susceptible – and that welcome may go down to gas mark one with the news that Remicade can also cause fatal blood and nerve disorders.
These latest effects were included in a letter sent to health professionals in the US, at the insistence of the FDA, the US drugs watchdog. Any patient taking the drug who develops a persistent fever should seek immediate medical attention, the manufacturer urges.
Next wonder drug, please (www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html; August 2004).