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Could cough medicine help private medical cover providers treat breast cancer?

Published on 19/11/2010
Private medical cover providers could use cough medicine to help them prescribe drugs to treat breast cancer, a new study has suggested.

This is because an ingredient in cough medicine can be used to gauge how well patients will react to the breast cancer drug tamoxifen.

Tamoxifen, which is widely used both to treat and prevent breast cancer, is metabolised by the body into endoxifen, which is responsible for the drug's anti-cancer activity and its related side-effects.

However, due to some women being worse at metabolising the drug than others, it can be less effective in some patients and also cause more side effects, such as hot flushes, endometrial cancer and thrombosis.

But scientists at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam have found that dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in cough syrup, is metabolised in the same way as tamoxifen, but is harmless to the patient.

It can therefore be used to predict how well different women will react to tamoxifen, allowing doctors to prescribe doses accordingly.

The news comes after research published earlier this week in the journal Lancet Oncology found that breast cancer screening for women in their 40s with a family history of the disease could save around 50 lives a year.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010


Categories:  Medical
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