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Painkillers may damage hearts

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5:50pm, September 11, 2001

Scientists at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation have raised a red flag about so-called COX-2 inhibitors, suggesting that these popular painkillers slightly increase a person's risk of heart attack.

The drugs, such as rofecoxib and celecoxib, are widely prescribed because they seem less likely to trigger ulcers and bleeding in the stomach than are aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Preliminary reports to the Food and Drug Administration of heart problems associated with COX-2 inhibitors led Eric J. Topol and his coworkers to reexamine studies by research groups that monitored people taking the drugs over several months.

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