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FDA Okays Progenics Pharma's Azedra To Treat Rare Adrenal Tumors

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Azedra or iobenguane I 131 injection for intravenous use for the treatment of adults and adolescents age 12 and older with rare tumors of the adrenal gland (pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma) that cannot be surgically removed or unresectable, have spread beyond the original tumor site and require systemic anticancer therapy. This is the first FDA-approved drug for this use. The FDA granted the approval of Azedra to Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Pheochromocytomas are rare tumors of the adrenal glands. These glands are located right above the kidneys and make hormones including stress hormones called epinephrines and norepinephrines. Pheochromocytomas increase the production of these hormones, leading to hypertension (high blood pressure) and symptoms such as headaches, irritability, sweating, rapid heart rate, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, weakness, chest pain or anxiety. When this type of tumor occurs outside the adrenal gland, it is called a paraganglioma.

The most common severe side effects reported by patients receiving Azedra in clinical trials included low levels of white blood cells (lymphopenia), abnormally low count of a type of white blood cells (neutropenia), low blood platelet count (thrombocytopenia), fatigue, anemia, increased international normalized ratio (a laboratory test which measures blood clotting), nausea, dizziness, hypertension and vomiting.

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