Popular painkiller doesn’t have more heart risks than others, study claims | Science News


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Popular painkiller doesn’t have more heart risks than others, study claims

Critics say flaws in Celebrex study undermine results

9:01pm, November 13, 2016

RISK ANALYSIS  The widely prescribed painkiller Celebrex, now available as the generic celecoxib, appears to pose no greater risk to the heart than do similar drugs.

NEW ORLEANS — A long-awaited study on painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the world, has concluded that the three most commonly used carry a similar risk of cardiovascular complications. Yet critics say the study was too flawed to fairly compare them.

Concerns about a type of NSAID called COX-2 inhibitors peaked in 2004 when the drug Vioxx was withdrawn from the market — a decision steeped in scandal because manufacturer Merck & Co had initially hidden data that would reveal the drug’s cardiovascular risks. A second COX-2 inhibitor, Pfizer Inc.’s Celebrex, was allowed to remain on the market with the condition that Pfizer conduct a study to prove that Celebrex was no worse than two older NSAIDs, naproxen and ibuprofen.

The study lasted 10 years and enrolled more than 24,000 patients,

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