FDA Approves Lonsurf for Advanced Colorectal Cancer

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new form of chemotherapy for people with advanced colorectal cancer that has stopped responding to other treatments. Lonsurf is a combination of the drugs trifluridine and tipiracil.

The FDA based its decision on a study of 800 people with colorectal cancer that got worse or came back despite several treatments. Those who received Lonsurf lived an average 7.1 months compared with 5.3 months for those who received a placebo (fake pill).

Lonsurf is taken as a pill. Common side effects include low levels of red blood cells (anemia), white blood cells (increasing the risk of infections) and platelets (increasing the risk of bleeding). Other common side effects include weakness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, decreased appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.

Severe drops in the numbers of blood cells or platelets can sometimes be life threatening. Therefore, the FDA recommends that doctors frequently monitor patients’ blood counts. Taking this medication could also pose risks in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Lonsurf is manufactured by Taiho Oncology Inc.

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