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Could Your Medication be Increasing Your Risks From Cancer? An Editorial

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I have previously written about the long term use of medications such as Nasonex for allergies and the potential effects this may have on a patient with HPV. Nasonex is a corticosteroid and any type of steroid will depress the immune system, something we all know can wreck havoc on a number of different diseases including cancer.

ENBREL is a prescription medicine called a Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) blocker that affects your immune system. In addition to ENBREL, HUMIRA has been advertised quite extensively of late. These two medications are indicated for long term use in patients with numerous conditions including but not limited to rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and plaque psoriasis.

This is a direct quote from the Amgen website, the manufacturer of ENBREL. Once again, what is so important to understand about these drugs is the information distributed by their own manufacturers which state:

“Serious infections have been happened in patients having taken ENBREL. These infections include tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacterial that have spread throughout the body”

The HUMIRA website states that for children and adults there is an increased risk for lymphoma and other cancers in those taking TNF blockers. They go on to state that HUMIRA may also result in an increase in squamous cell cancer, the exact type of cancer which results from HPV.

To top it off, they state that anyone who has been exposed to or who is known to have hepatitis B (another virus that induces cancer) should be sure to inform your doctor before taking HUMIRA. If Abbott Laboratories, who manufacture HUMIRA are stating this in their own literature I would question why they have not included anyone with HPV among them in addition to hepatitis B.

Obviously one must weigh the benefits against the risks in these types of situations however, it is imperative if you are considering one of these medications, or if your doctor suggests one, that you inform them if you have HPV.

Since HPV is indeed a virus, and both manufacturers of these medications have indicated that increased risk of viral infection can occur, it is certainly worth checking into and perhaps even contacting the companies themselves to obtain further information as it pertains to HPV. I doubt they will have any information to give you, but perhaps if enough people call, they may amend their documentation and protect others in the process.


"What is Enbrel® (etanercept)?." Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis and Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment - Enbrel (etanercept). N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2011.

"HUMIRA (adalimumab)." HUMIRA (adalimumab). N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2011. http://www.humira.com/default.aspx?cid=ppc_ppd_hum_ggl_brand_3425

Reviewed November 23, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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November 24, 2011 - 8:44am
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