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Cancer Drug Nexavar Tied to Pancreas Damage

Pancreas shrank by up to one-third in case studies following long-term use

continued...

By shining a spotlight on pancreatic damage, the doctors have provided a target for future efforts to control and prevent the diarrhea that is a common side effect of sorafenib and other similar medications, Dutcher said.

"Having a specific cause to investigate and remediate is useful," she said. "The diarrhea is difficult to manage. In some patients, having a specific condition they can take medicine for will perhaps make it more manageable."

Dutcher did note one unusual aspect of the patient cases cited -- the people appeared to have taken sorafenib for a much longer period than usual.

"Most people come off Nexavar in less than a year," she said. "We like to cycle them onto different medications."

Online pharmacies show prices ranging from $2,600 to more than $5,000 for a one-month supply of Nexavar.

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