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To spare the pain
Whelan praises the recommendation of an FDA advisory panel to allow Cox-2 painkillers to remain on the market “despite evidence they increase heart disease in some people.”
The risks…have been well publicized. Much less publicity has been given to a spectrum of real and potential benefits that go way beyond reduced risk of stomach inflammation. These little-discussed benefits would’ve been lost, perhaps permanently, had Vioxx, Bextra, and Celebrex been driven from shelves in pursuit of perfect safety, an unattainable goal.
Whelan cites evidence that the drugs may inhibit some cancers or perhaps even the dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It will be interesting to see how the FDA’s recent decision to withdraw Bextra from the market affects research into this class of drugs.
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