The Food and Drug Administration added stronger warnings to a group of best-selling drugs used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, saying they can increase the risk of cancer in children and adolescents.
FDA scientists said the drugs appear to increase the risk of cancer when they are used longer than 2 1/2 years.
The drugs, known as tumor necrosis factor blockers, work by neutralizing a protein that, when overproduced, causes inflammation and damage to bones, cartilage and other tissue. The drugs are prescribed to children with rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorder and Crohn's disease.
The FDA will bolster the "black box" warning on the five drugs sold in the U.S., including Abbott Laboratories' Humira, Johnson & Johnson's Remicade and Simponi, and Enbrel, which is co-marketed by Amgen Inc. and Wyeth. The action also affects Belgian drug maker UCB's Cimzia.