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Alternatives to Vioxx and Celebrex
Last review: 08/12/10  Vioxx Lawsuit Help
Celebrex and Vioxx were introduced to the U.S. market in 1999 as arthritis painkillers. Both drugs, alongside Bextra, are part of a class of drugs called COX-2 inhibitors that were immediately popular when emerging onto the market. The COX-2 inhibitors were aggressively marketed and the public appeared to believe the claims that the painkiller was superior in efficacy and safety, making both Celebrex and Vioxx blockbuster drugs.

The claims now appear to have been overstated in high budget direct-to-consumer advertising. In October 2004, Vioxx was withdrawn from the market after a study demonstrated its ability to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. The immediate and surprising withdrawal of the drug was based on data from a three-year trial designed to evaluate the possible effectiveness of Vioxx in preventing the reoccurrence of colon polyps.

A high number of Vioxx patients were out of their drug treatments, but Celebrex and Bextra still remained. Unlike Merck & Co.’s Vioxx side effects, Pfizer Inc. reassured the public that its two drugs on the market, Celebrex and Bextra, were safe despite concerns about the entire class of COX-2 drugs. Just a couple months after the Vioxx recall, the FDA urged doctors to consider alternatives to Celebrex after a study showed it increased the risk of heart attack and strokes at high doses.

The news came amidst testimony that Vioxx data indicating significant cardiovascular risks were available years before, but Merck and the FDA failed to adequately address emerging concerns. Frustrated and confused, patients did not know what other alternatives to Vioxx and Celebrex were safe. In addition to COX-2 concerns, popular over-the-counter drug Aleve (naproxen) was tied to potentially life-threatening side effects as well. Patients and doctors alike are now trying to find arthritis medication alternatives while being weary of the information they have.

Experts have advised patients to first off continue on the same drug treatment schedule until they are able to consult with their doctor, remembering more data is still needed about COX-2 drugs and individual risk factors must be considered. The FDA urged doctors to “consider alternative therapies as they evaluate their individual patients’ needs,” which has left millions of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis sufferers wondering what alternatives exist. A couple safe alternatives suggested by medical experts have included things like exercise, diet, supplements, acupuncture and other methods.

Moderate activities like swimming, cycling or walking that do not pound on the joints can reduce pain and swelling. In addition, other workouts like yoga and pilates can reduce joint stress. Certain foods, like animal products- excluding fish- worsen inflammation in the joints, as well as saturated fats, fried foods, sugar products, refined carbohydrates and foods high in gluten, so avoiding them can help. Inquiring about certain supplements that contain anti-inflammatory properties may also help. Recent studies have indicated acupuncture can help ease knee and neck pain.

While the Vioxx and Celebrex side effects have led to potentially hundreds of thousands of cardiovascular events, some experts believe the focus on adverse drug effects is an extreme reminder to the public that there are no miracle drugs. The Vioxx and Celebrex events may help shift a larger focus on incorporating healthier lifestyle choices as a way to manage various symptoms relief.

This article about Vioxx and Celebrex was contributed by Vioxx Lawsuit Help.