Another Arthritis Drug Under Attack

By: Ali Gorman, R.N.
By: Ali Gorman, R.N.

In an article published in "The New York Times," the American Heart Association says its study links Bextra to higher incidence of heart attack and stroke. It says Bextra may have even worse cardiovascular effects than Vioxx.

Vioxx, which is in the same class as Bextra, was pulled off the market in September.

Pfizer, the makers of Bextra, released this statement: "The New York Times article draws unsubstantiated conclusions about the cardiovascular safety of its COX-2 medicine Bextra and is based on information that has not been published in a medical journal."

Local cardiologists agree the study does not present enough scientific evidence. Dr. Christopher D'Haem of the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Institute says Bextra has proven to be effective in reducing arthritis pain while preventing stomach ulcers. But, he says, further studies will have to be done to determine if the drug is safe for the heart.

Pfizer says more studies are being done. The Food and Drug Administration will be discussing all COX-2 inhibitors in February.


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