Region 8 Residents Explore Celebrex Alternatives - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR--Tiffany Blankenship Reports

Region 8 Residents Explore Celebrex Alternatives

December 20, 2004 -- Posted at 6:30 p.m. CST

JONESBORO-- Only 11 weeks after the recall of Vioxx, the world's largest drug maker, Pfizer, has vowed to stop all advertisement of yet another arthritis drug.

    A recent study on the drug Celebrex reveals increased risks of heart attack and stroke.

    The drug has not been pulled from the shelves, and pharmacists say that patients using this drug cannot return it.

    Pharmacist Ken Gibson says, "As it is now with Celebrex, there is no recall. It is against Federal Law to return these to the pharmacy because of tampering problems."

    Over the weekend, Gibson's pharmacy was crowded with people worried about the decision to continue taking the drug.

    "As the studies are showing, especially with Celebrex showing two to three times the risk of heart attack and stroke versus the placebo, they need to get themselves off this drug," Gibson says.

    However, patients in this particular clinical trial were taking 800 daily for nearly three years.

    The important thing to remember is that the recommended dosage for the drug is 200 milligrams per day.

    Plus, a similar ongoing study comparing Celebrex taken 400 milligrams daily versus placebo does not reveal an increased risk.

    Gibson says that those at greatest risk are patients with a family history of heart attack or stroke.

    For patients that wish to explore alternatives, there are other over-the-counter drugs such as Ibuprofen that can provide relief.

     If one has severe arthritis, these drugs may not compare to Celebrex.

    "It won't work as well. The patient will be compromised. The patient will not have a good quality of life," Gibson says.

    In most cases, the benefits of Celebrex outweigh the risks.

    "I do not think that Celebrex should be pulled off the market. I think Celebrex should be given by certain guidelines," Gibson says.

    Gibson suggests that doctors screen patients for heart disease before the prescription is filled.

    For now, the decision is up to the user.


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