FDA Approves Daily Pill to Treat Common Skin Cancer
The FDA has approved a new drug, called Odomzo, that when taken daily,has been shown to be an effective treatment for ladvanced basal cell carcinoma—a common form of skin cancer.
It’s important to note the drug is only for those patients who are not appropriate candidates for surgery, radiotherapy, or who have recurring tumors even after treatment.
This drug is specifically for locally advanced basal cell carcinomas. This type of skin cancer spreads to nearby tissue, but not to the rest of the body and does not respond to localized treatment, such as surgery or radiotherapy.
A double-blind clinical trial randomly assigned 66 patients to take 200 mg of Odomzo a day and 128 patients to take 800 mg a day. About 60 percent of patients who took 200 mg of the drug per day had their tumors shrink or disappear. The effects lasted between 1.9 and 18.6 months. Half of the patients reported the effects lasted for six months or more. Similar results were reported for the group that took the higher dosage, although side effects were more common.
Some of the side effects reported were muscle spasm, hair loss, nausea, fatigue, vomiting and weight loss, among others. Other more serious side effects include musculoskeletal issues and, in rare cases, muscle tissue breakdown.
This drug should not be taken by women who are pregnant.