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FDA APPROVES DRUG THAT EASES PAIN FOR UP TO 6 MONTHS

SHARE FDA APPROVES DRUG THAT EASES PAIN FOR UP TO 6 MONTHS

An unusually long-acting drug that alleviates pain caused by bone cancer has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

One shot of the drug Metastron eases bone cancer pain for up to six months, said a spokesman for the drug's American sponsor, Medi-Physics Inc. of Arlington Heights, Ill.Bone cancer victims sometimes suffer almost continuous pain. Most bone cancers occur after breast or prostate tumors spread to the bones. Currently, patients with advanced bone cancer are receiving large doses of narcotics to dampen pain. As a result, they're immobile or their thinking is impaired.

"With Metastron, there is no reason these people should be in pain," said Dr. Ralph Robinson, chairman of the department of diagnostic radiology at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

The drug has been available overseas for seven years, and more than 6,000 bone cancer victims have received it. The therapy was developed by Amersham International, a British drug company.

- Don Kirkman