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Arthritis Drugs

updated

Arthritis is a disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the joints. There are several types of drugs that help treat the pain associated with arthritis, including acetaminophen, COX-2 inhibitors, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Arthritis drugs come in two forms: prescription and over the counter.

Arava®

Arava® is a prescription arthritis medication that is used to treat the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Arava® belongs to a class of arthritis drugs known as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Arava® works to treat rheumatoid arthritis pain by preventing the formation of immune cells that lead to inflammation.

Arava® Side Effects

As with any drug, there are side effects associated with the arthritis medication Arava®. The side effects of Arava® include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Liver damage

Possible FDA Recall?

The FDA has not recalled Arava® as of this writing; however, due to 130 cases of liver damage and 12 deaths, it has received a petition from Public Citizen (a consumer advocacy group) demanding a recall of the drug.

Bextra®

Bextra® is part of a class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that includes VIOXX® and Celebrex®. Known as COX-2 inhibitors, these medications were intended to treat the symptoms of arthritis, while reducing the risk of acquiring gastrointestinal problems associated with other NSAIDs.

Bextra® Side Effects

Recent studies have reported some dangerous side effects connected with Bextra® use. Patients who take Bextra® face an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Additionally, there have been reports of serious skin conditions, including cases of Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. Other side effects include:

  • Stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Indigestion
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Sinus inflammation

FDA Recall

On April 7, 2005, the FDA asked Pfizer, the manufacturer of Bextra®, to voluntarily recall the arthritis drug. The agency determined that the risk of cardiovascular problems is no greater with Bextra® than with other COX-2 inhibitors, but that the increased potential for skin reactions warranted its removal from the market.

Celebrex®

Celebrex® is a prescription arthritis medication used to treat the pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Celebrex® belongs to a class of arthritis drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors that work to treat arthritis by blocking the COX-2 enzymes that lead to inflammation. COX-2 inhibitors are different from traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (which block COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes) in that they only block COX-2 enzymes, leaving COX-1 enzymes free to protect the lining of the stomach.

Celebrex® Side Effects

Like any drug, Celebrex® is associated with certain side effects. The potential hazards of Celebrex® include:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding - Celebrex® has been linked to 11 cases of gastrointestinal bleeding that required hospitalization.
  • Heart attack
  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure

In addition to the above side effects, Celebrex® has been linked to at least 10 deaths, and some consumers consider it to be a dangerous drug.

Potential FDA Recall?

Although the FDA has not issued a recall of Celebrex®, it has requested that the label of Celebrex® be revised to warn physicians and patients about the dangerous side effects associated with the drug. As recently as April of 2005, the Celebrex® label underwent another update, strengthening the warnings about the increased risk of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems.

VIOXX®

VIOXX® is a prescription arthritis medication belonging to a class of arthritis drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors. VIOXX® works to relieve arthritis pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis by blocking the COX-2 enzymes that cause inflammation. COX-2 inhibitors are different from traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (which block COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes) in that they only block COX-2 enzymes, leaving COX-1 enzymes free to protect the lining of the stomach.

VIOXX® Side Effects

As with any drug, there are side effects associated with VIOXX®. The side effects of VIOXX® include:

  • Ulcers
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Fluid retention
  • Liver damage
  • Heart attack

In addition to these side effects, VIOXX® use has been linked to an increased risk of developing a nonbacterial type of meningitis.

VIOXX® Recall

On September 30, 2004, Vioxx® was voluntarily recalled by its manufacturer, Merck & Co, Inc., after a three-year study proved that the drug drastically increases the risk of stroke and heart attack in patients.

Consult a Pharmaceutical Litigation Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been harmed by an arthritis drug, you are encouraged to contact one of the experienced arthritis drug lawyers in the LawyerShop directory for more information.

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