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International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals

Fatal Mistakes of Animal Experiments Testing

4: Animal Tests Cannot Predict What Will Happen with New Medicines

Examples of Adverse Drug Reactions since Thalidomide
(not predicted by animal experiments16 )
Aminorex
Benoxaprofen
Chloramphenicol
Clindamycin
Clioquinol
Domperidone
Halothane
Isoprenaline aerosol inhalers
Ketoconazole
Methysergide
Oral contraceptives
Phenylbutazone
Practolol
Prenylamine
Stilboestrol
Suprofen
Tycrynafen
Zimediline
pulmonary hypertension
fatalities, phototoxicity
aplastic anaemia
intestinal disease
neurotoxicity
cardiotoxicity
jaundice
asthmatic deaths
liver damage
retroperitoneal fibrosis
blood clots
aplastic anaemia
eye, skin and abdominal toxicity
cardiotoxicity
vaginal cancer in female offspring
kidney dysfunction, side pain
fatatities
neurotoxicity

In most cases, animal tests cannot predict what will happen when a new medicine is given to people.17 But the tests not only give a false sense of security, there is also the risk that worthwhile therapies may be lost or delayed through toxic effects that do not occur in human beings. A review of 45 drugs by Britainís Committee on Safety of Medicines found that animal experiments were most likely to predict vomiting and gastrointestinal disturbances. Overall, however, the survey found that, at best, just 25% of the harmful effects observed in animals actually occurred in people.18

Examples include propranolol, a now widely used beta-blocking drug for heart disease and high blood pressure. Development was put in jeopardy when it caused rats to collapse and dogs to vomit severely.16 On the basis of animal tests, the transplant drug tacrolimus was feared too toxic for human use, and if it hadnít been given as a last chance option to desperate patients, its life-saving qualities may never have been appreciated.19 And the discovery that tamoxifen caused cancer in rats would have stopped development of this important anti-cancer agent had the company ICI not already been reassured by its safety profile in human patients.16

A well known but potentially far-reaching case is penicillin. Howard Florey, who developed the drug for therapeutic use, later admitted it was a 'lucky chance' that mice rather than guinea pigs had been used: ĎIf we had used guinea pigs exclusively we should have said that penicillin was toxic, >>

 

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