Cox-2’s: They’re BAACK! – FDA panel: Keep Vioxx, Celebrex, Bextra on market – Feb 18, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) — The popular painkillers Celebrex, Bextra and Vioxx all pose a risk of heart trouble, but should be available to those who need them, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration said Friday.

The panel strongly favored keeping Celebrex on the market, split over Bextra and favored Vioxx — which is currently not on sale — by a vote of just 17-16.

“The data is very compelling,” Vioxx is substantially worse than the others, meeting chairman Alistair J.J. Wood of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said.

The panelists voted 31-1 to keep Celebrex on sale and, after a revote, favored Bextra 17-13 with two abstaining.

I’ve read that some patients with severe arthritis were devistated when Vioxx was pulled, willing to trade an increased risk of heart disease for daily mobility.

Now, who’s going to prescribe these? Not ER docs. My guess it’ll be rheumatologists, and some internists with a long history with a patient, and even then, with billboards up with ‘Lawyer’ and ‘Vioxx’ in close proximity, restraint will be the order of the day.


  1. My sister in law, is furious because the new doctor she went to first, would not give her celebrex until he’d done xrays and blood work.

    then she got even more mad when all the test results came back showing nothing but high cholesterol & high blood pressure, and he refused her the celebrex again.

    she had a normal sed rate, normal ANA, normal antibodies for RA, normal strep factor …nothing to indicate an autoimmune disease or inflammatory process going on. All xrays came back perfectly normal.

    He said with no objective evidence of inflammatory process going on, a family history of heart disease, and her having high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and being overweight and no history of digestive disorders, he was not going to RX celebrex. He’d give her naperson (sp?) but not Celebrex or Bextra.

    She was livid.
    He was smart.

    Then she’s even more mad that I have celebrex … I have lupus with a sed rate over 75. I have xrays showing osteo arthritis in 2 knees, 1 hip and 1 shoulder.
    While I DO have high cholesterol, I don’t have high blood pressure. I also don’t have QUITE the family history of heart disease that she does. (just my dad …no other relative on either side ) I also have a very LONG history of repeated ulcers. (damage due to a 24 year long eating disorder)

    I would not expect a new doctor to just give it to me under the new revelations, with her lab results and history.
    I’m not even sure I’d expect an ER doc to give it to me WITH my circumstances … give me a shot of torodol to get through the weekend till I can get to my primary or rheumy or neuro.

  2. Your sister-in-law’s doctor is also smart for knowing that the COX-2s were never proven to be better at fighting pain than the non-selective COX-2s. On the other hand, some people do not get good relief from the NSAIDS, but there are many classes of NSAIDS to choose from. If ibuprofin doesn’t work, try naprosyn, next try relafin, etc, etc…


  1. Medical Morning Continued…

    Well, I suppose it’s now medical “afternoon”…but whatever.

    Dr. Charles posts a hilrious cartoon from Harper’s:

    Gruntdoc has an interesting take on the Vioxx/Cox-2 comeback.

    CodeBlue discusses the asterisk issue for steroids in sports–and …

  2. Return for Vioxx Unusual, But Not Unprecedented

    I know I’ve been slacking on this Vioxx thing, but in case you haven’t heard:

    Last week, an FDA advisory panel decided that painkillers Vioxx, Celebrex and Bextra carry cardiovascular risks but recommended that the FDA support their being marketed. …