The Recall of VIOXX
The most popular prescription drug for arthritic pain medication, VIOXX (a COX-2 inhibitor) is off the pharmacy shelves. On Sept. 30, 2004, Merck & Co. announced a voluntary worldwide withdrawal of VIOXX, after discovering in a study of 2,600 patients, increased incidence of heart attacks, blood clots, kidney failure and many other less serious side effects.
Another popular prescription drug, Celebrex, also belongs to the COX-2 inhibitor class. The European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products believes the whole COX-2 inhibitor class of drugs causes cardiovascular and other potentially serious adverse reactions. These drugs block COX (cyclooxygenase) in both its forms, COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 is necessary for stomach lining protection. The inhibition of COX-2 is believed to lead to an imbalance between the body’s two inflammatory pathways: COX (cyclooxygenase) and LOX (lipoxygenase), raising levels of thromboxane A2 relative to prostaglandin E2. Consequently, these factors increase two proinflammatory cytokines: tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin one beta (IL-1 beta) causing cartilage destruction.
Unfortunately, COX-2 drugs work against the body’s natural repair mechanism by upsetting the system of checks and balances leading to inflammation and joint deterioration.
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