Trial Weighs Risks/Benefits of Raloxifene
New research shows that the osteoporosisdrug raloxifene (Evista), nowused to help prevent breast cancer,does not increase a woman's risk ofcoronary heart disease. For womenalready at a higher risk for coronaryheart disease or for women whoalready have it, however, raloxifeneincreased the risk of fatal stroke andblood clots, according to new clinicaltrial data. The trial, Raloxifene Use forThe Heart (RUTH), included data frommore than 10,000 postmenopausalwomen with coronary heart disease orassociated risk factors. Participantsrandomly received either 60 mg/day ofraloxifene or placebo and were followedfor about 5 years. Raloxifene hadno significant effect on the women'scoronary heart disease risk, but thewomen in this group had a 55% higherrisk for fatal stroke and a 44% increasedrisk for blood clots. Whetherthe risk of stroke and blood clot outweighsthe drug's benefits in preventingbreast cancer remains an individualdecision, according to the studyauthors. "In our study, there werealmost an equal number of risks asthere were benefits. It's a very individualdecision," advises investigator LoriMosca, MD, MPH, PhD. Study resultswere published in the July 13, 2006, issueof The New England Journal of Medicine.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.