Medicine Information

Celebrex? Vioxx? Can My Doctor Provide Me With Safe Prescription Painkillers?

The news has been full of the recent FDA findings on a new set of drugs to help relieve pain. These drugs have been approved for re-release, but it is unclear whether Vioxx will be available again and whether physicians will feel comfortable prescribing Celebrex and Bextra for many of their patients.

What happened to Celebrex and Vioxx?

Celebrex, Vioxx, and Bextra are all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, pronounced en-said-z), similar to drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen, that are available over the counter (OTC). Celebrex, Vioxx and Bextra, (sometimes called Cox-2 inhibitors) however, use a slightly different method to achieve the same effect as their OTC cousins; this new method was supposed to limit the side effects some people experience on OTC drugs, including stomach and intestinal problems and allergic reactions. It was thought that because these drugs were less likely to cause such problems, they might be safer for patients with painful chronic conditions (like arthritis) to use for long periods of time.

Unfortunately, some studies of Cox-2 inhibitors suggest that while they don't cause the sorts of side effects of other NSAIDs, they may create a greater risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke. For people already at risk for these diseases (including those who have already experienced a stroke or heart problem), taking these drugs over the long run may significantly increase the risk of heart problems.

Now What Can I Do To Get Pain Relief?

Until a final decision has been made on each of these drugs, what can your healthcare provider do to help you with pain management? Here are important pieces of information to think about in determining what next steps to take:

* The Cox-2 inhibitors were not shown to be more effective than other NSAIDs, like naproxen. If you've been on or thinking about trying Vioxx or another Cox-2 inhibitor, you may be able to use an older anti-inflammatory drug. Naproxen, one of the older NSAIDs, may be an anti-inflammatory drug that actually lowers heart attack risk.

* Some people started on a Cox-2 inhibitors because they had a stomach ulcer or other risk factors for stomach or intestine bleeding (for example, people on blood thinners), which may be made worse by older anti-inflammatory drugs. For some people who are at risk for bleeding, other options like acetaminophen may be an option.

* There are lots of other medical options. Steroids can be used for shorter periods of time to manage inflammatory pain from diseases like arthritis and lupus. Opioids (drugs that resemble opium), such as oxycodone, codeine, and hydrocodone (Vicodin) can help with pain management, but they can have serious side effects, and some of them can be addictive, so working closely with your healthcare worker is key to determine if these will work for you. In addition, some antidepressants may help with chronic (long-term) pain, though the way this works isn't yet known

* New procedures may be of assistance to you. Nerve block therapy (in which certain nerves are temporarily anaesthetized) can relieve pain temporarily. "Implantable "technologies, like spinal cord stimulation (SCS) systems and implantable drug delivery systems, do seem to help some people for whom other pain relief methods don't work.

* If you aren't getting the relief you need (with or without the use of Cox-2 inhibitors), you may want to consult a pain specialist. Some large hospitals (such as Stanford University) have departments devoted to pain management. The American Board of Pain Medicine and the PainConnection (at can help you locate a pain specialist who can work with your other healthcare professionals to put a new treatment plan together for you.

Harris, G., "F.D.A. Official Admits 'Lapses' on Vioxx," New York Times, March 2, 2005

Krames, E., "Implantable Technologies: Spinal Cord Stimulation and Implantable Drug Delivery Systems,"

Winfield, J. et al "A Primer on Pain Management: Optimal Therapy for the Patient in Pain," Medscape CME, February 2005.

Copyright (C) Shoppe.MD and Ian Mason, 2004-2005

Ian Mason, owner of Shoppe.MD, your source for Online Prescription Medications, drug information and support forums.

Ian is a fat-to-fit student of health, weight loss, exercise, and several martial arts; maintaining several websites in an effort to help provide up-to-date and helpful information for other who share his interests in health of body and mind.

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at

Shortage of medicine, drinking water for Kerala flood survivors
"They also need medicine for diarrhoea, rehydration powders and wipes to clean things." The Indian government has pledged $71m for victims of what state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan called "the worst floods in 100 years". Randeep Kumar Rana of the ...

and more »

Lewiston Morning Tribune

Thomas Medicine Elk Kenoras
Lewiston Morning Tribune
Thomas Medicine Elk Kenoras (Simseh — “Obsidian Sub Chief”/Ahtukka “Goose”), affectionately known as “Lil Tom” or “Goose,” entered the world on Nov. 11, 1997, to Lucy (Medicine Elk) and Bleu Jaye Kenoras at Clearwater Valley Hospital in Orofino.

111 alleged cold medicine buys nets man criminal 'smurfing' charge
MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI - A Muskegon man who allegedly made more than 100 separate purchases of pseudoephedrine has been charged criminally for "smurfing." Heath Priest, 46, was charged in Muskegon County court with possessing ...

Good News Network

Top School of Medicine is Now Paying Tuition for All of Its Med Students
Good News Network
The NYU School of Medicine just announced that it is offering full-tuition scholarships to all current and future students in its MD degree program regardless of need or merit—a bold effort to simultaneously address the rising costs of medical ...
NYU to take care of Tuition fees of Medicine studentsThe Siasat Daily
NYU School of Medicine Offers Full-Tuition Scholarships to All New & Current Medical
New Research Shows Increasing Physician Shortages in Both Primary and Specialty Care - AAMCNewsAAMCNews
University of Houston -Pew Research Center -The Campaign for Free College Tuition
all 63 news articles »


The Doctors Without MDs: What Makes Osteopathic Medicine Different?
McQuain is a doctor of osteopathic medicine, or DO, the other type of medical doctor in the United States. And while osteopathic physicians are fully licensed doctors with the same prescribing privileges as MDs, the American Osteopathic Association ...

Daily Telegraph

Nine million Aussies use a prescription medicine each day
Daily Telegraph
A survey of more than 1000 adult Australians conducted by YouGov Galaxy for NPS Medicinewise has found two in three parents have difficulty remembering how often to give their children medicine and half worry whether they are administering medicines ...

and more »


I Love You, Doc: A Brief, Boozy History of Alcohol as Medicine
Ancient Egyptians and Chinese are among the earliest adopters of booze as medicine; though in their cases, alcohol more as a vehicle for medicine, the way Red Bull is (why) a vehicle for vodka. According to Patrick McGovern, the UPenn professor who ...

Health IT Analytics

Precision Medicine Researchers Identify New Alzheimer's Genes
Health IT Analytics
Researchers expect that these findings will help enhance the understanding of the genetic factors that lead to Alzheimer's development, which is a critical step toward eventually achieving effective and scalable precision medicine treatment. “Many of ...


How Retail Mental Health Could Be Medicine's Next Frontier
Throughout his residency and his last three years as a physician in psychiatry training at Mather Hospital in New York, Dr. Tamir Aldad saw upfront how thousands of mental health patients each year were sent home from the emergency room knowing they ...

Feature: Western medical professor promotes traditional Chinese medicine in Malta
VALLETTA, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Despite having studied and practiced Western medicine for many years, Charles Savona Ventura, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Malta, has dedicated the past four years to promoting the ...

Google News

home | site map | Dr. Thad Thomas
© 2006