05/03/2012 04:55 EDT | Updated 07/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Cancer Drug Revlimid Linked To New Cancer: Health Canada Warning


TORONTO - The maker of a drug used to treat people with anemia as well as a form of cancer is warning that new cancers have been reported in a small number of people who have taken the drug.

Health Canada and the manufacturer, Celgene Inc., have worked together to update the label information for Revlimid to make note of the concern.

The drug is used for the treatment of a condition called deletion 5q myelodysplastic syndrome, which requires blood transfusions for anemia, a low red blood cell count.

Revlimid is also authorized for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have already had another treatment; multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells.

The company says second cancers such as skin cancers or other invasive solid tumours have been reported in a small number of patients with multiple myeloma while or after they were taking Revlimid.

They say patients taking the drug should talk with their health-care providers if they are concerned about their own increased risk of having other cancers.