Stroke - Consumer Justice Foundation

Avastin and Stroke

Avastin, an anti-cancer medication currently manufactured by Roche Pharmaceutical’s Genentech, has been the subject of significant speculation recently. The drug was approved by the FDA in 2008 to treat breast cancer patients in combination with chemotherapy. However, recent research has indicated that this medication is neither safe nor effective in treating breast cancer and may lead to the development of major and potentially fatal side effects, including heart attack, heart failure, stroke and perforation of the gastrointestinal tract. Avastin was approved by the FDA’s accelerated approval program in order to make the drug immediately accessible by individuals suffering from serious medical conditions. Unfortunately, because the drug was approved according to preliminary clinical data and before clinical trials were completed, consumers were unaware of the potential dangers associated with the drug. Furthermore, although Avastin approval has been revoked for treating breast cancer, the drug is still available to individuals suffering from brain, kidney, lung and colon cancer.

Stroke Described

A stroke is similar to a heart attack, but affects the brain instead of the heart. A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to any part of the brain caused by blockage of a blood vessel. If blood flow is not restored for a long period of time, brain cells can become damaged and begin to die. Common symptoms of a stroke include:

  • Difficulty speaking
  • Weakness in the arm, leg, or both on the same side
  • Weakness of facial muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden headache
  • Vision problems
  • Coordination problems
  • Loss of consciousness

One of the most common causes of a stroke is blockage of a blood vessel by a blood clot. A stroke can cause irreversible damage to the brain, affecting numerous aspects of the body’s function and potentially resulting in permanent disability.

Link Between Avastin and Stroke

The FDA has warned patients and health professionals that Avastin may increase a cancer patient’s risk of suffering from severe side effects, including heart attack, heart failure and stroke. The drug also increases a patient’s risk of dying from these medical conditions. In fact, according to an analysis involving more than 10,000 patients being treated for tumors, the risk of death was much higher in patients treated with Avastin and chemotherapy, compared to those treated with chemotherapy alone. Of the 5,589 individuals treated with Avastin, 148 died, whereas only 72 of the patients treated with just chemotherapy died.

According to a brain cancer expert at Harvard University, administration of Avastin may cause bleeding complications in the brain. Because of a lack of data from clinical studies, physicians can only estimate that anywhere between 2% and 70% of Avastin consumers may suffer from significant bleeding in the brain. Furthermore, according to a physician in the department of pathology at Raboud University Nijmen Medical Centre, the likelihood of experiencing a neural hemorrhage after receiving Avastin is 70%. The value of a drug is typically measured by the determination that the possible benefits of the drug outweigh the potential risks. Unfortunately, for Avastin, a medication whose benefits for breast cancer patients are limited to nonexistent, the adverse side effects associated with the drug significantly overwhelm the possible benefits.

Dealing With an Avastin-Related Stroke

Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the third most common cause of death in the United States. Approximately 750,000 new strokes occur in the U.S. each year. A stroke is an extremely serious condition which can lead to catastrophic issues like physical paralysis, cognitive dysfunction, speech problems, and even death. Victims of serious injury related to the use of Avastin are not at fault and drug manufacturing companies should be held accountable for the harmful side effects associated with their medications. The only way to protect your rights as a consumer and stand up to big drug companies is to contact an Avastin attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a defective drug lawsuit. Avastin lawyers are extremely experienced in defective drug litigation and will fight to help Avastin victims receive reimbursement for their injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered from a stroke and you believe Avastin to be the cause, contact an Avastin attorney to collect the compensation you are entitled to.

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