JOURNAL ARTICLE LINKS CELEBREX TO HEART ATTACK RISK
A study published in the UK's Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine has reported that Pfizer's Celebrex (celecoxib), an arthritis treatment in the same COX-2 inhibitor family as Merck's withdrawn Vioxx, may cause an increased risk of heart attack. In 2004, Celebrex was prescribed to approximately 600,000 UK residents.
The studies, conducted at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand in Wellington, found that patients taking Celebrex were 2.26 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who took a placebo. When the drug was compared to other painkillers, such as ibuprofen, the heart-attack risk increased by 1.88-fold. Researchers noted that this magnitude was reminiscent of the 2.24-fold risk of heart attack linked to Vioxx.
Pfizer, however, has stood by the safety profile of the drug, commenting in a statement that in a larger, 44,000-patient study, which amassed data from 40 clinical trials, "patients taking Celebrex had no more risk for heart attack, stroke, or CV (cardiovascular) death combined than those given non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs."