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Pfizer's Celebrex Is Not Exposing You to Cardiovascular Risks Than Other NSAIDs

Update Date: Nov 17, 2016 11:10 AM EST

Pfizer Inc's painkiller, Celebrex, has always been thought about as a risky drug. However, a recent study conducted on the arthritis drug reveals that Celebrex is not riskier than its rivals, Naproxen and Ibuprofen. 

The study was conducted on 24,000 patients at Cleveland Clinic, with Dr. Steven E. Nissen, chief of Cardiovascular medicine as the principal investigator. Despite certain data limitations with many patients discontinuing the drug during the study and losing some patients during the follow-up, it's been found that patients taking Celebrex experienced fewer heart attacks, strokes and heart-related deaths than those assigned to take Ibuprofen and Naproxen.

Celebrex, commonly available as celecoxib, is a Cox-2 inhibitor. Following the recall of Merck & Co's Cox-2 Inhibitor Vioxx, Pfizer continued marketing Celebrex despite speculations on the risks associated with it. Many doctors assured that Celebrex posed higher heart risk than Ibuprofen, Naproxen and other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

Following Vioxx recall, the US Food and Drug Administration mandated that all NSAIDs are labeled with a warning indicating their potential cardiovascular risk. The recent study on Celebrex is a relief to the doctors whose patients are on celecoxib.

Besides its impact on cardiovascular health, Dr. Nissen and his colleagues analyzed the other risks associated with the drug. Good news is that Celebrex has been found to be less risky in contributing to ulcers and other gastrointestinal side effects. Celebrex has also been found to be safer than Ibuprofen considering its effect on kidney complications.

The patients used for the study are the ones with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. These patients require NSAIDs daily, and were given doses adequate to relieve the severity of their condition.

"Anyone under prolonged use of NSAIDs is at the risk of heart disease. This is especially true in the case of patients who are already at the risk of a heart disease or who are already diagnosed with it.", says Dr. Nissen. "Those who are given double or triple doses of such drugs for a long time could be at higher risk. It is safer to take low doses for the shortest time possible," adds Dr. Nissen.

Celebrex, Naproxen and Ibuprofen are three of the commonly used NSAIDs that contribute to 100 million prescriptions every year in the US. 

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