Evista, generically known as raloxifene, works to affect the cycle of bone formation and breakdown in the body. It reduces the loss of bone tissue and is used to treat or prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Evista has also been used to reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer in women as well. Eli Lilly has marketed Evista since 1997. This drug generated $922.1 million in sales in 2003.
Evista has been linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer in its patients. In a study conducted by Eli Lilly, it was found that Evista induced ovarian cancer in rats—a finding that creates a strong suspicion that the same is true in humans as well. Many lawsuits have been brought against Eli Lilly, citing illegal advertising tactics and suppression of evidence they may have had about the dangers of Evista.
In one trial known as RUTH (Raloxifene Use for the Heart), there was evidence that Evista could cause increased risk of a stroke and other cardiovascular episodes. Research compared the use of Evista versus a placebo and found that the risk of death was increased in Evista users (2.2 per 1,000-Evista v. 1.5 per 1,000-placebo). The study followed 10,000 women of postmenopausal age for up to seven years.
Serious side effects include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden Headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance
- Chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, fast heart rate
- Pain or swelling in one or both legs
- Swelling in your hands or feet
- Fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, flu symptoms
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Breast pain, tenderness, or lump
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- Severe pain in your lower back
Less serious side effects may include:
- Hot flashes
- Headache, dizziness, spinning sensation
- Leg pain
- Joint pain
- Increased sweating
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain
- Runny or stuffy nose