Choose Your Painkiller Carefully!

(excerpts from USA Today and the Associated Press)



NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) must include stricter warnings!


Another pain killer drug was yanked off the U.S market in April 2005.  Bextra was added to the already growing list of anti-inflammatory and pain killing drugs that are being taken off the U.S market, due to serious side effects and deaths.  The U.S government has also ordered that 19 other popular prescription competitors, from Celebrex to high-dose Naproxen carry tough new warnings that they too may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.


The warnings encompass an entire class of anti-inflammatory medicines called NSAIDs., including over the counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, naproxen and ketoprofen.  The brand names of these drugs include Advil, Motrin and Aleve. 


The saga began in September 2004, when Merck & Co. pulled its pain reliever Vioxx off the market after a study showed long-term use doubled patients risk of heart attacks and strokes.  Celebrex and Bextra manufactured by Pfizer inc. are similar drugs and studies show they also can raise cardiovascular risks.   Bextra is no longer for sale in the United States or the European Union. 


Use of cox-2 inhibitors (subset of NSAIDs) skyrocketed, particularly by people with arthritis and chronic pain, when they hit the market in the late 1990’s because of claims that they were easier on the patient’s stomach than traditional pain killers.  The FDA cautioned that those claims about being easier on the stomach, were never proven. Associated Press.


When asked “Are any of these anti-inflammatory pain relievers safer than the others?”  Dr. Steven Galson, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Drug  Evaluation and Research replied, “We think these risks apply to all of the drugs.”  USA Today


Did you know that over a 5 year period, 58,000 people died in the United States from taking these drugs.  Why would any pharmaceutical company wait so long before disclosing this information to the public?