Popular arthritis drugs causing cancer in children?

The FDA is investigating a possible link between arthritis drugs, Humira, Remicade Enebrel, and cancer in children and young adults.  The FDA has received approximately 30 reports of lymphoma, leukemia, melanoma and organ cancer in children who were given the drug to combat arthritis or Chrohn’s disease.

The drugs in question are known as tumor necrosis factor blockers, which are designed to block a chemical in the body that causes inflammation.  Although the safety labels do disclose a possible association with cancer; the warnings do not disclose the specific impact that the drug could have on children and young adults. Consequently, FDA will now begin an in depth investigation into claims of childhood cancer, with the findings to be released in November of this year.

I would advise parents of children with arthritis or Chrone’s disease to discuss this potential side effect with your child’s doctor.  If your child is experiencing mild pain or inflammation, it might be best to push off drug therapy until the findings are published in November.  If drug therapy is absolutely necessary, ask your doctor what specific side effects would indicate that your child is having a negative reaction to the drug.  Obviously, the earlier you catch childhood cancer, the easier it is to combat with traditional drug therapy and/or surgery.

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