Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pain killers and stomach problems

NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are commonly used for pain relief in arthritis.

Like most drugs they have some side-effects and precautions. Asthmatics need to be careful as some can exacerbate symptoms but gastric problems seem to be the most common reason people are unable to take these drugs. Anyone with a history of gastric ulcers is unable to take NSAIDs as they can lead to increased bleeding in the stomach.

A new type of drug was developed to help prevent these side effect. Called Cox-2-inhibitors, they decreased the risk of gastric problems allowing these drug to be used by people unable to take regular NSAIDs. The new drugs (celecoxib, valdecoxib and rofecoxib) appeared to be a valuable new tool in the control of pain and inflammation in arthritis.

These drugs were immediately successful and marketed under the names Celebrex, Bextra, and Vioxx.

In 2004, Vioxx was voluntarily withdrawn from the market after concerns it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke.

It is still uncertain if this adverse affect is limited to Vioxx or is present with other Cox 2 Inhibitors.

Many people continue to take Celebrex today for its pain relieving properties.

As with all medications the benefits and risks need to be assessed for each individual, so there is no substitute for getting personal advice from your doctor.

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