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FDA Orders Stronger Warnings On Arthritis Medication

The FDA ordered stronger warnings on four medications widely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other serious illnesses, saying they can raise the risk of possibly fatal fungal infections. The four drugs, Enbrel, Remicade, Humira and Cimzia, work by suppressing the immune system to keep it from attacking the body. The drug works to relieve swollen and painful joints, but it also lowers the body’s defenses to infections. The FDA became concerned after discovering that doctors seemed to be overlooking a kind of fungal infection called histoplasmosis. Of 240 cases reported to the agency in which patients taking one of the four drugs developed this infection, 45 (20 percent) died. Patients are advised to call their doctors if they develop persistent fever, cough, shortness of breath or fatigue, which can be signs of the fungal infection. To read the full story, click here.