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At the urging of the Food and Drug Administration, the drugs Vioxx and Bextra have both been voluntarily withdrawn from the market by their manufacturers.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.
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.
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