Pfizer Suspends Sales of Bextra (cont.)

Patients currently taking Bextra should contact their physicians to consider alternative treatments. FDA is also asking manufacturers of all marketed prescription NSAIDs, including Celebrex (celecoxib), a COX-2 selective NSAID, to revise the labeling (package insert) for their products to include a boxed warning and a Medication Guide. The boxed warning will highlight the potential for increased risk of CV events with these drugs and the well-described, serious, and potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding associated with their use. The Medication Guide will accompany every prescription NSAID at the time it is dispensed to better inform patients about the CV and GI risks. Finally, FDA is asking manufacturers of non-prescription (OTC) NSAIDs to revise their labeling to include more specific information about the potential GI and CV risks, and information to assist consumers in the safe use of the drug. This announcement does not apply to aspirin as it has clearly been shown to reduce the risk of serious adverse CV events in certain patient populations.

FDA Q&A

1. What is FDA announcing today?

In follow-up to the February 16-18, 2005, joint meeting of FDA's Arthritis and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committees, convened to discuss the safety of the "COX-2 selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and related agents," we are announcing our planned regulatory actions for Bextra, Celebrex, and the non-selective prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

We have concluded that the overall risk versus benefit profile for Bextra is unfavorable and we have requested that Pfizer, the manufacturer, voluntarily withdraw the drug from the market. Pfizer has agreed to suspend sales and marketing of Bextra in the U.S., pendng further discussions with the agency. We are requesting that manufacturers of all marketed prescription NSAIDs, including Celebrex, a COX-2 selective NSAID, revise the labeling (package insert) for their products to include a boxed warning and a Medication Guide. The boxed warning will highlight the potential for increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) events and the well-described, serious, and potentially life threatening gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding associated with these drugs.

We are asking manufacturers of OTC NSAIDs to revise their labeling to include more specific information about the potential GI and CV risks, and information to assist consumers in the safe use of the drug. This includes instructions about which patients should seek the advice of a physician before using these drugs, stronger reminders about limiting the dose and duration of treatment in accordance with the package instructions unless otherwise advised by a physician, and a warning about potential skin reactions.