Angry Toxicologist

From the non-news that’s news’ department, Reuters reproted on a study that showed that ~15% of patients who took Sutent, a kidney and cancer drug, developed heart failure. Dr Melinda Telli presented information on 48 patients who took Sutent at an American Society of Clinical Oncology. You’d think this was new information the way it’s being reported (WaPost, CNNMoney, ETC). Of course, if anyone had been reading the label of the drug, they’d find this under ‘Precautions’:

In the two MRCC studies, twenty-five patients (15%) had decreases in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) to below the lower limit of normal (LLN). In GIST Study A, 22 patients (11%) on SUTENT and 3 patients (3%) on placebo had treatment-emergent LVEF values below the LLN.

and in bold

Physicians are advised to weigh this risk against the potential benefits of the drug. These patients should be carefully monitored for clinical signs and symptoms of CHF while receiving SUTENT.

First question: Why do this study? Did the researcher never read the label which referred to a much bigger study with the same finding?

Second question: Why is anyone reporting on this non-news? “Drug. heart-failure. must print.” Thankfully, not everyone is (Kudos to NYTimes, USAToday, LATimes, ChicagoTrib).


  1. #1 apy
    February 14, 2008

    Crap like this is why such a large amount of Americans have a problem trusting medicine.

  2. #2 jenaisle
    February 17, 2008

    Each substance that enters the body is processed by the liver and any drug is considered “foreign” and has side effects. The therapeutic effects of the drug should then be much greater than the side effects.

  3. #3 Anna
    February 24, 2008

    Every bit of distrust in medicine is earned, IMO. Sure, I use conventional medical care, but I rarely act on the proposed treatment until I verify and learn more, understand it myself, and actually believe that the doc is right. My big fear is something urgent suddenly happening, and not having the time (or presence of mind?) to do some research or at least get a second opinion. But the majority of healthcare is for non-urgent things.

    In fact, perhaps more people should distrust medicine, or at least be skeptical, more informed, and asking questions. But it seems most people think their own docs are great; it’s the other poor saps who get lousy care. Ya think?

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    February 29, 2008

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  5. #5 tom
    March 8, 2008

    Yes this being news is stupid. But it’s never stupid to replicate a study. Especially when the only studies of a drug are done by the people selling the drug.

  6. #6 Carrie Tucker
    October 17, 2008

    Gee I think there are a bunch of idiots giving other idiots money to study what is already known to be harmful.

    Would be nice if money were put into a study that would actually be beneficial.

    Hey like, maybe if the money was used to supply food banks with produce, and whole grains and beans, it might actually effect the rate at which heart disease is killing poor people. Maybe many other disease too, ya think?

    Hey a study like that might actually convince folks who have a choice, to eat better!

  7. #7 muhabbet
    March 26, 2009


  8. #8 Criminal Background Check
    December 28, 2009

    I also have heard that Pfizer drug can cause of heart failure.

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    January 23, 2010

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