DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE

COX-2 Inhibitors Dilemma
Vioxx, Celebrex, Bextra What Patients Should Do

Medical Author: William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD

The recent withdrawal of Vioxx from the market (September, 2004) has resulted in one of the most tumultuous times in history for the pharmaceutical industry, patients, and doctors. At the time of its withdrawal, Vioxx was one of the most widely used medications in the world. The fallout has left the pharmaceutical industry on edge at a minimum, left patients worried and wondering whom to trust, and left doctors out on a limb faced with controversial research data to review with their patients.

In this article, I hope to: (1) clarify issues by using the current dilemma of the COX-2 inhibitor drugs [(rofecoxib) Vioxx, (celecoxib) Celebrex, and (valdecoxib) Bextra] NOTE: April 7, 2005, Pfizer agreed to suspend sales and marketing of Bextra in the U.S., pending further discussions with the with the FDA. For more information, please read the FDA press release. , as a background; and (2) present general guidelines as to what patients should do in response to having their medication withdrawn from the market or even hearing of potential risks of their medications that are reported in the media.