Medicine Information

Bextra and Vioxx -- Alternative Medications Have Warnings, Too


At the urging of the Food and Drug Administration, the drugs Vioxx and Bextra have both been voluntarily withdrawn from the market by their manufacturers. Studies show that these drugs, part of a family of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) known as COX-2 inhibitors, may be linked to increased chances of heart attack or stroke.

Since these two drugs were heavily prescribed for treatment of arthritis pain and inflammation, many users have suddenly found themselves without their prescription medication and without relief. The automatic response to this might be to reach for a traditional anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Alternatively, patients may opt to take the lone remaining prescription drug in the COX-2 family of NSAIDs, Celebrex.

Before reaching for that over-the-counter pain reliever, patients would be well-advised to do some further research, or, on newer bottles, read the label. While the majority of the news reports regarding NSAIDs have covered Bextra and Vioxx, the FDA warnings include all NSAIDs, including the over-the-counter varieties, which include naproxen and ibuprofen. These drugs are now required to have a "black box" warning on the bottle, which outlines the fact that patients taking these medications may be at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Many physicians in the medical profession are quick to point out that the warnings come as a result of a rather limited study, and that further studies are necessary to fully determine the degree of risk that one assumes when taking these medications. Such studies will be done, but in the meantime, the warnings on the label should not be taken lightly. Patients should be aware that taking such medications either in large doses or over prolonged periods of time could pose certain risks. As always, patients who have questions regarding these or any medications should consult with their physician.

Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing.

Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including Bextra-Info.net, a site devoted to the withdrawn drug Bextra and StructuredSettlementHelp.com, a site devoted to structured settlements.


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