FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2007


Laura Cavender

MEDIA TIP SHEET: FDA Investigating Cancer Pain Drug

Fentora is used for acute cancer pain; Lombardi director of palliative care available to comment

Washington, DC -- This week the manufacturers of Fentora, a powerful narcotic to treat acute cancer pain, sent letters to physicians warning them that several deaths have been linked to the drug. The FDA is investigating the deaths and "off-label" marketing of the drug.

Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
's Andrew Putnam, MD, is director of the center's Palliative Care program, and specializes in end-of-life care for cancer patients. He commented on the FDA's investigation:

"As with any narcotic and probably more than most drugs, doctors need to know how to use Fentora appropriately. As a palliative care practitioner, my primary concern is that patients receive pain relief through safe medical management, so in this sense the integrity of a drug like Fentora is very important. The FDA should investigate these deaths further to ensure that the drug is functioning as it should and is not inadvertently increasing mortality.

Having said that, in my practice, Fentora has been successful in rapidly relieving severe cancer pain."

Dr. Putnam can be reached at (202) 687-5100 for comment or via Laura Cavender in the Office of Communications: