Wyeth downplays breast cancer study

Wyeth downplays breast cancer study

There are 6 comments on the Daily Record story from Dec 16, 2006, titled Wyeth downplays breast cancer study. In it, Daily Record reports that:

NEW YORK -- A study showing that U.S. breast cancer rates fell in 2003 is another piece of evidence illustrating that Madison-based Wyeth's hormone replacement drugs cause the disease and will strengthen ...

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Houston, TX

#1 Dec 18, 2006
Of course Wyeth will downplay this astonishing news. What Wyeth fails to state is that they changed their lable regarding breast cancer after the Women's Health Initiative came out showing a higher risk of breast cancer than Wyeth warned against. Wyeth also had to admit HRT doesn't protect against heart disease and clots as they advertised. The dosage of the HRT was also significantly reduced and women were to stay on it only a short time as opposed to life as was first prescribed. For some reason this information is not talked about.

So...Wyeth...tell all of the facts. The FDA is also at this time reviewing the safety of HRT.
David Colasante MD

Malvern, PA

#2 Dec 18, 2006
Wyeth's Premarin family of products had, in fact, contained breast cancer warnings for several years prior to the Womens Health Initiative. This is easily verified by a review of the product labeling as it appeared in the PDR (Physician's Desk Reference: see years 1980-2004) which is distributed at no charge to virtually all physicians in the USA.
Also the recent study findings are, as the authors admit, confined to reporting a decrease in breast cancer DIAGNOSIS (i.e. detection) which is not synonymous with breast cancer incidence (i.e. occurence). That detection rates are down may mean there is less breast cancer or that existing cancers are smaller and more incideous in the absence of estrogen therapy. Without the benefit of breast cancer mortality data the effects of estrogen remain inconclusive.

United States

#3 Dec 20, 2006
The change in the product label after the Women's Health Initiative was dramatic. Quite different from the original product label. The "fountain of youth" launch by doctors at the time has come to an end. Wyeth has suggested a much lower dosage and the shortest amount of time on the drug, as opposed to "lifetime," are quite dramatic changes as well. Hopefully some of our doctors will pay more attention in relation to HRT.
David Colasante MD

Malvern, PA

#4 Jan 3, 2007
Indeed, I would hope all doctors pay due attention to all their prescriptions. As to the "dramatic" change to the product label, I must also agree that the news media, many women and even Wall Street found the changes to be so. However, I can't help believing that this was actually useless theatrics by one gov't agency (FDA) in the face of incomprehensible data from a failed study by another gov't agency (NIH).

What is the real meaning of a label change to the effect of, "use the lowest dose for the shortest time". Are there any medications where this is not already implicit? Are we ever instructed by a label to use too much for too long? No. Really, all the label change amounted to was an act, so that concerned voters would think things were being taken care of. In the mean time, the FDA action effectively distracted voters from noticing that WHI was extremely expensive and terribly bungled.


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