In the News: Serevent-related deaths and CT scans as a cause of cancer

Some FDA panel members recommend Serevent be taken off the market

Serevent, which is a part of the asthma blockbuster drug Advair, has been linked to sudden death in children. GSK claims there is no increased risk of hospitalization and mortality with Advair.

Serevent (salmeterol) is a long-acting beta2-adrenergic receptor agonist (LABA) which is used for treatment of asthma and COPD. The FDA will look into the safety profile of all LABAs at a future meeting.

Long acting beta-adrenoceptor agonists include salmeterol, formoterol (part of Symbicort) and bambuterol.

Note: The photo on the right shows a Seretide-labeled metered-dose inhaler (MDI). Seretide is the trademark for salmeterol in Europe.

CT scan may increase cancer risk

According to a NEJM review quoted in the NYTimes, in a few decades, 2 percent of cancers in the United States may be due to radiation from CT scans given now.

The average American’s total radiation exposure has doubled since 1980, largely because of CT scans. About 62 million of them were done in the U.S. in 2006 (up from three million in 1980) and studies suggest that a third of CT scans are unnecessary.

References:
Stronger Warnings Advised on Asthma Drug. NYTimes.
Report Links Increased Cancer Risk to CT Scans. NYTimes.
Current Concepts: Computed Tomography — An Increasing Source of Radiation Exposure. D. J. Brenner and E. J. Hall. NEJM.
Image source: Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License and public domain.

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