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NEWS: Pfizer Finds Celebrex Heart Attack Risk Similar To Vioxx

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posted on Dec, 17 2004 @ 10:56 PM
Pfizer today announced that its top-selling arthritis painkiller Celebrex can cause an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients taking the drug at the high dosage range. Celebrex is in the same class as Vioxx, a Merck product, that was pulled earlier in the year for the same problems. Pfizer has indicated that it will not pull the drug from the markets, some doctors have reported a flood of calls from worried patients.
NEW YORK - Pfizer Inc. said it found an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes for patients taking high dosages of its top-selling arthritis painkiller Celebrex, the same problem that led to the withdrawal of its one-time competitor Vioxx.

The company said it has no plans to remove Celebrex from the market, but the disclosure on Friday sent Pfizer's shares tumbling because of fears that it could cripple sales of what had been the most-prescribed drug for treating arthritis.

Acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford said the government is advising physicians to consider prescribing drugs other than Celebrex to their patients.

"We're leaving open all regulatory decisions as we move forward. But we do not have a decision on the fate of the product," said Crawford, during a press briefing. "We do have great concern about this product (Celebrex) and the class of products."

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Well, it should not be a real surprise. Both drugs are in the Cox-2 inhibitor class. It is unclear if the Pfizer data was similar to Merck’s, but the drug may be different enough that the symptoms appear only when maximum doses are taken. As we say in the pediatric intensive care unit: For every good thing there is an opposite effect that we do not want. Doctors and patients are going to have to strike a balance between acceptable risk and how much pain you are willing to live with.

[edit on 12/17/04 by FredT]

posted on Dec, 18 2004 @ 11:29 AM
cut the prescription dose in halve and combine with another painkiller?

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