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Fighting Cancer's Side Effects

Zometa gets go-ahead to tackle calcium buildup in the kidneys

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HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, August 29, 2001 (HealthDayNews) -- A weapon that fights the side effects of cancer has passed a final federal hurdle.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved marketing plans by the pharmaceutical firm Novartis for Zometa (zoledronic acid for injection), a new treatment of hypercalcemia of malignancy (HCM), the most common side effect associated with cancer. This paper from the National Cancer Institute explains the dangers hypercalcemia poses for the cancer patient.

HCM affects more than 10 percent of all cancer patients. It accelerates the breakdown of bone and releases excess calcium into the bloodstream. The resulting high calcium levels can overload the kidneys, sometimes fatally.

Research was coordinated by Dr. Pierre Major, a medical oncologist at the Hamilton Regional Cancer Center and associate professor in the department of medicine at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Canada approved Zometa before the United States did.

This research abstract and commentary from American Health Consultants gives a favorable thumbs-up for Zometa.

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