Erivedge (vismodegib) has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, the agency said.
The drug was approved for people for whom surgery or radiation aren't options, and for people with basal cell that has spread to other parts of the body, according to an FDA news release.
Basal cell usually is a slow-growing, painless type of cancer that begins in the top layer of skin, often on areas most exposed to the sun.
Erivedge was evaluated in clinical studies involving 96 people with basal cell carcinoma. The most common side effects included muscle spasms, hair loss, weight loss, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, distorted taste, loss of appetite and constipation.
The drug was approved with an FDA's label warning that pregnant women who take Erivedge could have babies at greater risk of severe birth defects or death. "Pregnancy status must be verified prior to the start of Erivedge treatment," the agency release advised.
Erivedge is marketed by Genentech, based in San Francisco, Calif.
(HealthDay News, January 2012)
(Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)