Tougher warnings ordered for arthritis drugs

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government wants stronger warnings on some arthritis drugs.

The Food and Drug administration today ordered the stronger warnings on four medications that are widely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other serious illnesses.

The FDA says the medications can raise the risk of possibly fatal fungal infections.

The drugs (Enbrel, Remicade, Humira and Cimzia) work by suppressing the immune system to keep it from attacking the body.

It provides relief from swollen and painful joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

But the FDA's Dr. Jeffrey Siegel says it's a "double-edged sword," in that the drugs also lower the body's defenses to various kinds of infections.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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