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Anemia drugs like Aranesp and Procrit can increase the risk of death and blood clots, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). These drugs, called erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), are used in treatment of chemotherapy-associated anemia in certain cancer patients. The study, which looked at 89 clinical trials, found a 10 percent increase in risk of death and a 57 percent increase in risk of blood clotting (called venous thromboembolism) in patients being treated with ESAs. Aranesp is manufactured by Amgen, while Procrit is a product of Johnson & Johnson. On March 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold an advisory committee hearing on the safety of ESAs. In early January 2008, FDA issued an update on safety information related to ESAs.
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