Health Care Insurer Bans Bextra

Looks like some health care agencies are starting to pay attention to the warnings about COX-2 inhibitors -- a popular class of painkilling drugs with toxic effects. One of the nation's largest health care organizations, Kaiser Permanente, has halted dispensing Bextra, the first time the group has banned a FDA-approved drug.

An associate director for Kaiser said the decision wouldn't affect most of its 9 million patients because doctors had already stopped prescribing the drug. Nevertheless, "for safety and quality reasons, we don't want to be involved in dispensing this drug," Kaiser said.

Specifically, Kaiser took action because it believes Bextra has no "unique benefits but plenty of possible risks." So far, clinical trials have shown Bextra "treats" pain no better than older drugs like ibuprofen, and its alleged benefit that it's safer on the stomach has never been proven in a clinical trial. Just one more blow to a toxic drug whose sales reached nearly $1.3 billion.

On the bad side, Kaiser will still allow its doctors to prescribe Celebrex at low doses. Surprising, considering the FDA recently banned ads for Celebrex, believing Pfizer's claims were misleading and not supported by evidence.

Truth is, probably the most important way to reduce inflammation and chronic pain, is to eliminate sugar from your diet (for most of us this also includes all grains). This simple strategy alone may provide you with amazing relief.

Another safe and healthy option: Equalize the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats in your daily diet. That's easily done by reducing while decreasing your consumption of omega-6 fats from nearly all vegetable seed and nut oils and increasing your omega-3s by taking a high-quality fish or cod liver oil.

New York Times January 29, 2005

Wilimington Star-News January 30, 2005

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