Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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March 02, 2006

Celebrex Joins Vioxx: Painkiller Doubles Heart Attack Risk

Merck's Vioxx was withdrawn from the market after studies had established that the drug not only was combating pain but was horrendously increasing the risk of heart attacks for those taking it. Dr. Garret FitzGerald, a University of Pennsylvania cardiologist, had led the studies which found and documented the side effect. According to a 2004 AP article, at the time, FitzGerald commented:

"I've been concerned all along, I believe this is a class effect," not just a problem with Vioxx, he said.

Cawkwell of Pfizer called his contention "an interesting theory," but said, "there is no evidence" of increased risk of heart problems among the 75 million Americans who have taken Celebrex.

Celebrex is the 10th most popular drug in the United States, with annual sales of $2.7 billion, up 5 percent in a year, according to IMS Health, a company that tracks drug industry trends.

'No evidence of increased risk of heart problems' is of course not the same as no risk, but it is good enough to keep the dogs at bay ... until the next study results, that is. In fact, after a more recent review of existing studies, comments Dr Mercola, "Celebrex officially joined fellow COX-2 inhibitor Vioxx among the ranks of lethal pain relievers today after researchers found, not surprisingly, celecoxib more than doubled a patient's risk of heart attack."

- - -

When compared to a placebo, continues Mercola, Celebrex elevated one's risk of heart attack by 2.26 times, based on an analysis of six studies including some 13,000 patients. And, in contrasting Celebrex to ibuprofen, the comparative risks of heart attack dropped only slightly (1.88).

Cox-2 inhibitors, such as Vioxx and Celebrex, are part of a class of drugs called NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The FDA requires warnings on the packaging of those drugs that allude to the higher risk. My question is: Who in their right minds would continue to use such a drug, even if their statistical likelihood of having a heart attack were low. Why tempt fate by doubling that likelihood?

The study can be found on the site of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, (or in print in Vol. 99 No. 3, March 2006: 132-140)

Links to other articles:

BBC News March 1, 2006

Study: Pfizer's Celebrex raises heart attack risks

Study Examines Celebrex and Heart Attacks

Study: Vioxx poses even short-term risks
A Montreal study raises questions about even short-term use of the pain drug Vioxx and may harm Merck & Co.'s defense against 11,500 lawsuits, a report said. The study, published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, said people 65 and older are at the greatest risk of suffering a heart attack within 6-13 days of their first ingestion of Vioxx. The McGill University study also found elderly patients' heart attack risk did not increase the longer they took the drug, which Merck pulled off the world market in 2004. A key element of Merck's defense has been that it took 18 months or longer for the heart attack risk to increase...


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Thursday March 2 2006
updated on Thursday December 2 2010

URL of this article:


Related Articles

Vioxx: 'Inflammation' Spreads - Other Similar Drugs To Be Investigated
Merck & Co has decided to pull its blockbuster arthritis and acute pain drug Vioxx, after evidence of an increased risk of heart attacks built up to levels that could not be contained any more. Patients and doctors are being warned to discontinue use and return unsold stocks of the drug. The recall was reported on September 30, but the plot now seems to thicken. According to an AP story... [read more]
October 07, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Vioxx Shows: FDA Unable To Protect Public From Deadly Medical Drugs
According to recent congressional testimony, "the FDA as currently configured is incapable of protecting America against another Vioxx. We are virtually defenceless," said David Graham, associate director of the agency's Office of Drug Safety. The quote is from an article published in South Africa, titled Doctor: FDA is too cosy with drug firms. The FDA is the national food and medicines regulatory agency of the US but it has been... [read more]
November 23, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Lipitor - Vioxx: Discovering The Statin - Painkiller Chain Reaction
The recent withdrawal of Merck's blockbuster painkiller Vioxx may actually afford us a glimpse of a chain of events that is normally well hidden in research papers, at best selectively disclosed to the medical community. Vioxx and other new-generation painkillers such as Bextra and Celebrex have all come under fire for their tendency to cause an increase of heart attacks. Statin Drugs, such as Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, Lesocol and Mevacor... [read more]
December 06, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Vioxx, Celebrex, Bextra: COX2 Inhibitors Unsafe Warns FDA Panel
The three-day deliberations of experts called by the FDA to recommend on the fate of the "Vioxx class" pain drugs have led to recommendations of severe warnings to be put in black boxes on the drugs' packaging, but stopped short of recommending that they be removed from the market altogether. After some days of stunned silence and media reporting that the drugs have been found safe enough to remain on... [read more]
February 28, 2005 - Sepp Hasslberger

Eliminating Painkillers - Naproxen To Follow Vioxx, Celebrex
Management of chronic pain is getting more difficult - at least the much touted chemical route seems to be turning into a rather rocky path, with several of the "blockkbuster" painkillers showing stunning rates of increase of heart trouble after Vioxx was recently withdrawn from the market. According to a recent Health News article, the FDA has just halted a clinical trial involving Naproxen, as signs emerged that the drug... [read more]
December 21, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Furberg Says Bextra Similar to Vioxx - Fired From FDA Panel
According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal, Curt D. Furberg, a professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was removed from an FDA panel reviewing the safety of COX-2 inhibitors. These are drugs of the same class as the recently withdrawn painkiller Vioxx, which was found to be causing tens of thousands of heart attacks. Furberg looked at the data and found similarities between Vioxx and... [read more]
November 13, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger




Readers' Comments

Celebrex is back on the market, in Canada.
Furthermore, the government ban on drug companies advertising directly to the consumers has been lifted; it seems we are being inundated with ads for Celebrex.

Posted by: Steve Zakrzewski on March 24, 2006 04:41 PM


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The Individual Is Supreme And Finds Its Way Through Intuition


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These articles are brought to you strictly for educational and informational purposes. Be sure to consult your health practitioner of choice before utilizing any of the information to cure or mitigate disease. Any copyrighted material cited is used strictly in a non commercial way and in accordance with the "fair use" doctrine.



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