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Avastin Side Effects & Injury Lawsuits

Because clinical trials have shown that the drug Avastin does not help breast cancer patients to live longer, but does expose them to potentially serious heart-related side effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revoked Avastin’s approval for use as a breast cancer drug. There has not been an Avastin recall, however. The drug remains on the market as a treatment for other cancers, and therefore can still be prescribed off-label to breast cancer patients.

What Is Avastin? When Is It Prescribed?

Avastin is the brand name for the drug bevacizumab. Made and sold by Genentech, a wholly owned subsidiary of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche, this prescription medication is used to treat colorectal, lung, renal, brain, and other forms of cancer. First approved in February 2004, Avastin is administered intravenously in 100mg or 400mg doses.

Bevacizumab hampers the creation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) by inhibiting a necessary protein from creating new blood. This limits the growth of malignant tumors by denying them nutrients, which is why the FDA approved it for use against metastasized cancers. Avastin is also used (albeit without FDA approval) for treating macular degeneration, a disease caused by excess blood in the retinas.

In 2008, against its own advisory panel’s recommendations, the FDA approved Avastin for metastasized breast cancer based on clinical data generated by an accelerated approval process. The panel believed the drug merely slowed tumor growth without increasing survival rates.

A 2010 study of 3,000 women using Avastin for breast cancer showed that the drug was ineffective at prolonging life expectancies. As a result, an advisory committee of oncologists voted twelve to one to remove Avastin’s breast cancer indication.

On Nov. 18, 2011, the FDA followed suit and revoked Avastin’s indication for metastic breast cancer due to its ineffectiveness. There hasn’t been an Avastin recall, however. The drug remains on the market as a treatment for other cancers, and therefore can still be prescribed off-label to breast cancer patients. Not all breast cancer patients will be able to afford it, though. It costs around $88,000 a year, but while Medicare will cover it, private insurers may not cover it for breast cancer patients any longer.

In February 2012, regulators in Europe and in the United States discovered that someone had sold 19 medical practices counterfeit Avastin. They traced the products to a distributor called “Quality Specialty Products” (QSP), which may have also worked under the name “Montana Health Care Solutions.” Another company called Volunteer Distribution of Gainsborough, Tennessee may have distributed QSP’s counterfeit Avastin. The FDA’s Web site contains images of the packages QSP used. The counterfeit Avastin has “Roche” printed on its labels instead of “Genentech,” and the lots numbers are B6010, B6011, B86017. Genentech uses six-digit batch numbers with no letters, and it includes expiration dates on its products’ labels. The counterfeit Avastin is mostly harmless so long as patients don’t use it in high doses, but it lacks the bevacizumab that is meant to treat cancer. There is no reason to believe that the counterfeit drugs will lead to an Avastin recall.

Avastin Side Effects

Although no Avastin warning is in effect, nor has there been an Avastin recall, research has shown the drug causes some severe, life-threatening side effects. On top of its prohibitive cost and ineffectiveness at working as indicated, Avastin users experience the kinds of symptoms one would expect when blood creation is inhibited, for the body requires new blood vessels for healing. Here are some of Avastin’s side effects:

  • hypertension
  • bleeding
  • worsening of coronary artery disease
  • worsening of peripheral artery disease
  • perforation of various linings such as those in the nose, stomach, kidneys, and bowels
  • heart attacks
  • strokes
  • Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome, a neurological disease characterized by headache, vision loss, confusion, and seizures
  • necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease)

RLG’s Lawyers Will Make Things Easier

The process of demanding compensation for the harm you’ve suffered can be complicated, even if it doesn’t seem fair that you should have to go through even more trouble to be made whole again. The lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group believe that obtaining legal satisfaction from those who harmed you shouldn’t require more hardship. That’s why we do everything we can to streamline the process, and we will file an Avastin lawsuit on your behalf if necessary.

If you have taken Avastin and believe it harmed you, contact RLG today.

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rlg Previous Comments

  1. Guest
    on July 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I am 61 yrs. and live in Michigan. I had one treatment for macular edema for my right eye. This drug Avastin was injected directly in my right eyeball. The next day I had some pretty severe pain in both legs. By the 2nd day, both legs were completely fire red, burning, itching, and all hair fell off my legs. That was the last week in April of this year. It is July 24, now and I still have redness over approx, 1/3 of my left leg. It has caused some scarring and discoloration in both legs. I was hospitalized for approx. 4 days. I have never been in so much pain in my entire life. I was treated for a blood clot in my left leg. My physicians never told me if I had a blood clot or not, despite me asking several times daily. Ultra sound was done on my right leg, and the top portion of my left leg. Ultra sound treatment could not be done on the lower half of my left leg due to more severe pain. It was assumed that a blood clot was present, but not proven. So at that point, I was treated for a blood clot with blood thinners, over several days, maybe longer? When I was discharged from the hospital, I went home to bed for over 30 more days. I was prior to hospitalization going to a health club on a more regular basis than now. I don't have the patience with my pain levels to do very much activity. Either pool or walking or doing a workout on machines. I am still pretty scared, if I had a blood clot, if it's still a danger? As for my vision, no I cannot say it has helped me. At first I thought it might be a help, but now over time I see that it was a waste of time, money and at the expense of my health. I have had some shortness of breath, probably from needing more pain meds. And a claudication, if I try to walk much. I am diabetic and it has made my condition worse. This drug should NEVER should have been used on a diabetic. Product should state that. I was worried about the dosage of this drug and side effects and told my doctor that I didn't like the side effects I saw online Google before I was given the drug. My eye physician Dr. Peter Jeffery Colquhoun of Southwest Michigan Eye Center, 3600 Capital Ave, Battle Creek, Michigan. He assured me that all I was going to be given was 1/400th of a chemo dose, so don't worry.. You can see how potent the drug really is. No wonder it kills cancer patients.. I have other medical problems and have been legally disabled since 1994. I was still getting along pretty good before I took this drug, but now I have no hope of ever getting better enough to be independent. I will always need to have help living with me or nearby. My husband can't take time off work to care for me, so I can only do so much by myself. My driving is now limited and activity levels are limited. I have had to hire a driver to go or do any distance driving for me. As well as to dr. appointments.

  2. Guest
    on May 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    My father died from lung cancer April 9, 2011. His last chemo treatment was April 1 and was being administered Avastin as part of his treatment. His health changed dramatically during the week after the final treatment and eventually died 8 days later. Could the Avastin accelerated his death?

  3. Guest
    on March 7, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I have brain cancer and I am still on this drug. I'm having blood in my stool and now having nose bleed today. I saw a doctor at ku med center and they checked my counts said I was fine. I sent an e-mail to my other doctor at St. Jude and they said we would talk more when I come back to get my next round on March 14.

  4. Guest
    on February 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    My husband passed away in 2008 from his second carotid artery hemorrhage. He was given Avastin as part of a clinical trial along with Cisplatin. This was for the base treatment of tongue/throat cancer.

  5. Guest
    on January 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    My wife died from the side effects of avastin. She was being treated for brain cancer. The doctors could have at least told us about these side effects but did not.

  6. Guest
    on December 2, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    My mom was diagnosed in 2008 with breast cancer, had a mastectomy and took chemo treatments for almost a year. Was cancer free until the breast cancer came back in May 2010 at which time it has spread to her liver. One of the meds that she took was Avastin. We were very concerned at the time that she took it but felt there was no choice. She passed away on November 9, 2010. Not sure if Avastin had anything to do with it. It is all scary, very scary.

  7. Guest
    on November 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I have contacted an attorney and was recently told that they would not be able to handle this matter on my behalf. I tried to file a claim when I was on Avastin which was used for my chemotherapy treatment in 2006, resulting in having a stroke after just the first round of the drug, and I still have effects from this drug. I just received a letter from that attorney telling me that he was not able to determine the precise statute of limitations for my claim. I was wondering if you could offer me any more information on this claim. Thank you for your help.

  8. Guest
    on October 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I developed a massive blood clot around my port and could not use my arm, bend over, etc without complications. I have stopped avastin and I have continued chemotherapy numerous times for colon cancer

  9. Guest
    on July 21, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Can u call me? My Dad passed away about two months ago and one of the meds he took was avastin

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