The Hidden Risks – Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrex - JuniperCivic.com
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Originally published in the June 2005 Juniper Berry Magazine

The Hidden Risks – Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrex

You may have heard that Vioxx and Bextra, both anti-inflammatory drugs, were recalled from the market due to the serious side effects they cause including stroke, heart attack, death and severe skin reactions, such as Stevens Johnson Syndrome. You may not have heard that a similar drug, Celebrex (Celecoxib), is still on the market and may pose similar health risks.

On December 17th 2004, the results of a newly released study

showed that the painkiller Celebrex could more than double, and in some cases more than triple, the potential for heart attacks, strokes or death.

Even more disturbing is a follow-up report released in February 2005 that proved these risks were known by Celebrex's manufacturer as early as 1999. To date, Celebrex has not been removed from the market, however a stronger warning label was requested by the FDA.

The popular painkiller Bextra (Valdecoxib), used by millions of Americans to relieve symptoms of acute arthritis and painful menstrual cycles, has also been shown to double the risk of heart deaths, heart attacks and strokes. On April 7, the Food and Drug Administration requested that Pfizer suspend sales of Bextra in the United States due to these overwhelming risks.

On September 30, 2004, the painkiller Vioxx (Rofecoxib) was recalled from the marketplace by its manufacturer Merck. Vioxx has been found to double the risk of a severe cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes and can even cause sudden death.

Those taking higher doses of Vioxx were reported to have triple the risk of a severe cardiovascular event. All three of the drugs in question have been widely prescribed, with Vioxx having sales of $2.5 billion, Celebrex $1.8 billion and Bextra $687 million. Prior to the recall, it is estimated that Vioxx was being taken by at least 2 million Americans. Due to this widespread use, in 2004 an FDA researcher testified that Vioxx could potentially be responsible for anywhere from 88,000 and 140,000 heart attacks and strokes.

If you took Vioxx, Celebrex or Bextra, you should speak with your physician about alternative medications. If you or a loved one took any of these drugs and have experienced any related side effects, including blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, severe skin reactions or sudden death, contact our firm immediately at 800.966.4999 for a free case evaluation.

The writer, Deborah N.F. Truhowsky, is a senior partner in Schwartzapfel, Novick, Truhowsky & Marcus, P.C. of New York City. After graduating from New York University, Ms. Truhowsky received her J.D. degree from the Hofstra University School of Law. She went on to earn a Masters of Law degree in Business and Taxation from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. Ms. Truhowsky currently concentrates her practice in the areas of personal and catastrophic injury, including cases involving Elder Abuse and Neglect, Vioxx, Accutane, Hormone Replacement Therapy, Welding Rods and Construction Accidents. Her commitment to legal ethics has led her to chair the New York State Trial Lawyers Association's (NYSTLA) Ethics Roundtable lecture series for the past five years. Ms. Truhowsky has lectured frequently on topics ranging from Elder Abuse and Neglect and Real Life Legal Ethics to Alternative Dispute Resolution and Auto Insurance issues. She is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell and has served as a member of NYSTLA's Board of Directors in addition to being an active member of the NYSTLA, the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, the New York State Bar Association and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. She is admitted to the New York and Connecticut State Bars as well as the U.S. District Court of New York State, Southern and Eastern Districts.