Thursday, October 23, 2008

Avastin hypertension

I am now off of Avastin in preparation for surgery in December. Since Avastin prevents blood vessel growth, it needs to be removed so that the surgical wounds can heal properly.

Another side effect is hypertension. My blood pressure lately is around 155/90 and that's even with 10 mg per day of Norvasc. I haven't noticed any problems with the high blood pressure, but I know that long term it should be lower. I was curious how long it takes to return to normal after stopping Avastin, so I did a little Googling.

There's a good amount of information now about how to identify and manage Avastin-induced hypertension, but I haven't yet found any data about how patients respond after stopping it. Then it occurred to me – Avastin is usually given to patients with late stage cancer, so there's probably not much chance to track patients for years after stopping therapy.

It's just another little reminder that I'm sailing in uncharted waters and heading further from shore every year. Fortunately I deal well with uncertainty so it doesn't bother me emotionally, but as a scientist it's striking to me how difficult it is in medicine to get enough data to make informed decisions.


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