US approves Lilly's Evista for breast cancer prevention

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US drug regulators have authorized the sale and use of a drug marketed as Evista to prevent aggressive breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

The drug, produced by US-based Eli Lilly, already has US Food and Drug Administration approval to prevent osteoporosis among postmenopausal women.

The approval "provides an important new option for women at heightened risk of breast cancer," said Steven Galson, director of the US Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. However, he cautioned that side effects are serious.

Users of the drug must watch out for side effects such as blood clots in legs and lungs, which can cause deadly stroke.

The drug is the second treatment authorized in the United States to cut the risk of invasive breast cancers, ones that can metathesize into other tissues.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States -- 26 percent of all cancers among women.

The company warns women who are pregnant or could become pregnant not to use the drug, which in any case should not be used with hormones such as estrogen.