New drugs approved to treat methotrexate toxicity and breakthrough pain.
On Jan. 17, the FDA approved Voraxaze (glucarpidase) for patients with toxic levels of methotrexate in their blood after kidney damage.
Methotrexate is used to treat many cancers, in combination or alone, and is normally passed from the body through the kidneys. However, high doses can cause kidney damage, raising the level of the drug in the system. Voraxaze breaks down methotrexate so it can then be eliminated from the body.
Side effects include low blood pressure, headache, nausea and vomiting.
Another form of fentanyl received FDA approval for breakthrough cancer pain on Jan. 4. Breakthrough cancer pain is a pain flare that “breaks through” even when the patient is already taking pain relief medication. Subsys is an under-the-tongue spray approved for patients who are tolerant to opioid medications used for persistent pain.
Side effects are similar to other forms of fentanyl and include vomiting, nausea and constipation.