Pulling the painkillers Vioxx and Bextra off the market to spare patients’ hearts may have ended up harming their stomachs, a new study suggests.
Rates of gastrointestinal events serious enough to require hospitalization have risen significantly since the cox-2 inhibitor medications were ordered off the market in 2004-2005
Cox-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrex are a subset of a larger group of painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) relieve pain, but they also raise risks for GI tract complications, including bleeding.
Cox-2 inhibitors were heralded as a safer alternative to other NSAIDs precisely because they offered users a much lower risk of these side effects.