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After Vioxx Recall, Other Drugs Under the Microscope

When I heard Vioxx was being pulled from the market late last week, it wasn't surprising to me to read Pfizer had stepped up production of Celebrex to meet the new patient demand. In a case of "being careful for what you wish for," two studies released by the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday reported many thousands of people could be harmed by using Vioxx as well as other COX-2 inhibitors, like Celebrex.

One researcher of one study estimated the number of people who have had heart problems and strokes as a result of taking Vioxx to be anywhere from 30,000-100,000! (A FDA safety official, in an earlier study of possible heart problems and strokes stemming from Vioxx, projected that the drug caused more than 27,000 serious adverse reactions.)

A second study revealed new concerns about COX-2 inhibitors that led researchers to believe Celebrex and others could have negative cardiovascular effects similar to those linked to Vioxx. In fact, during clinical trials, all COX-2 inhibitors showed signs of some increased cardiovascular risk, one scientist said, and, as such, use of this class of drugs should be termed as "risky."

Both studies also took the FDA to task, especially for allowing Merck to advertise Vioxx despite worries over the rising risks of cardiovascular disease going back four years.

The safest and easiest way to treat pain to start taking a high quality fish oil (cod liver oil) at this time of year and to eliminate sugar from your diet. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. In fact, that is how Vioxx and other drugs in its class work.

Washington Post October 7, 2004

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