Recently in Painkillers Category

Common Pain Relievers Increase Blood Pressure Risk in Men

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ibuprofen(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Common pain relievers may increase the risk of high blood pressure in men.

Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin are among the most commonly used drugs in the United States. Two recent large studies have suggested a link between pain relievers and an increased risk of high blood pressure in women. But the association has not been studied extensively in men.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston followed 16,031 male health professionals who did not have a history of high blood pressure (hypertension). The average age of participants was about 65.

Merck's multibillion-dollar bet

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vioxxBy Jerry Avorn

A FEW BLOCKS from the high-rise casinos of Atlantic City, Merck & Co. Inc. is in the middle of a multi billion-dollar bet. A jury is about to decide whether the pharmaceutical giant knew that its blockbuster Vioxx could cause heart attacks, but then minimized that risk in the information it gave to doctors and patients. The decision could have implications for the prevention of future drug disasters more profound than all the tepid plans being discussed by Congress and the FDA.

Faced with thousands of patients assigned to her jurisdiction suing the drugmaker for Vioxx-related heart damage, Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee decided to first resolve a few over-arching issues, before getting to the details of each individual case. She'll instruct the jury first to determine whether the pain reliever could ever increase the risk of heart attack. Most experts agree that it does, and Merck took the drug off the market in 2004 when its own clinical trial proved it, but the company still does not fully acknowledge this fact. Next, she'll ask the jury a kind of pharmacological Watergate question: What did the company know, and when did it know it? And finally, did Merck misrepresent this risk in its promotional materials?

Fewer side-effects from new arthritis drug

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arcoxia etoricoxibA new arthritis drug causes fewer stomach disorders and complications than older painkillers, researchers said on Friday.

They analysed the results of three clinical trials to assess the safety of Merck & Co's drug etoricoxib - sold under the name Arcoxia - as compared with diclofenac.

Etoricoxib is a COX-2 inhibitor while diclofenac belongs to a class of therapies known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, which includes aspirin and ibuprofen.

Are Your Painkillers Actually Killing You?

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painkillersBy DAN CHILDS, ABC News Medical Unit

Calls for stronger warning labels for certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications question the safety of products that are a fixture in the medicine cabinets of nearly every American household.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration proposed stronger warning labels for acetaminophen, widely known by the brand name Tylenol, and the common class of pain relievers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. This group includes ibuprofen and aspirin.

Considering the familiarity of these medicines, many consumers assume they are safe.

Drug Danger: Even Proper Use Can Kill

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fentanyl patchA powerful painkiller is raising red flags in western Wisconsin after an increase in the number of overdoses. There have been a string of deaths from Fentanyl overdoses. Some have been intentional, some were not.

In September, Dr. Susan Momont was found dead in her Eau Claire home. Her husband has now been charged with providing the Fentanyl that caused her death.

The St. Croix County medical examiner says three people have died in his county since this spring. Last week, the Chippewa County district attorney said a man there died from an overdose, which may have been a suicide.

FDA Proposes New Pain Reliever Warnings

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aspirinFederal health officials on Tuesday proposed sterner warning labels for acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen, again cautioning millions of Americans who take the nonprescription pain relievers regularly of potentially serious side effects.

The over-the-counter drugs remain safe and effective when used as directed, the Food and Drug Administration said. However, overdoses of acetaminophen can cause serious liver damage, even death, the FDA said.

For aspirin, ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, there is a risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney injury even when patients take the correct dose. The drug are linked to thousands of deaths a year. The FDA said the risk is rare when compared to the number of patients who take the drugs.

Health Tip: Who Needs Aspirin?

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aspirinHealthDay News -- Aspirin is often recommended by cardiologists for its blood-thinning properties, but the medication can lead to complications, including stomach problems.

The Cleveland Clinic says you should always check with your doctor before starting a daily aspirin regimen.

In general, the clinic says, people at risk for the following conditions may benefit from aspirin therapy:
  • Heart attack
  • Blood clots or stroke caused by blood clots
  • Unstable angina
  • Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or "mini-strokes
source - Healthday

FDA Questions Celebrex for Kids' Arthritis

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celebrexPfizer Inc. may fall short in convincing federal regulators that its painkiller Celebrex should receive expanded approval to treat children with a devastating form of arthritis, according to documents released Tuesday.

Pfizer wants Food and Drug Administration approval to sell Celebrex as a treatment for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or JRA, which affects as many as 60,000 U.S. children. The disease causes painful joint swelling and can affect growth and development.

However, an FDA review of the New York company's application questions whether the drug works for the pediatric disease. The FDA approved the drug for use in adults with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in 1998.

Painkillers May Threaten Power of Vaccines

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drugsWith flu-shot season in full swing and widespread anticipation of the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, a new University of Rochester study suggests that using common painkillers around the time of vaccination might not be a good idea.

Researchers showed that certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), also known as cyclooxygenase inhibitors, react with the immune system in such a way that might reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

The research has widespread implications: study authors report that an estimated 50 to 70 percent of Americans use NSAIDs for relief from pain and inflammation, even though NSAIDs blunt the body's natural response to infection and may prolong it.

Warning Issued on Dangers of Methadone

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methadonePeople starting treatment with methadone have died and suffered life-threatening side effects, health officials said Monday in warning of the dangers of overdosing on the painkiller.

Overdoses of the increasingly popular narcotic can cause slow or shallow breathing and dangerous changes in heart beat that patients might not feel, the Food and Drug Administration said.

Those side effects, including reports of deaths, have been seen in patients starting methadone treatment for severe pain or who switched to the drug after using other strong narcotic pain relievers, the FDA said in a public health advisory.

The FDA warned that methadone only provides pain relief for four to eight hours, but can linger in the body for eight to 59 hours. That can lead patients to take more of the drug before it has been eliminated by the body, causing the drug to build up in the body to toxic levels, the FDA said.