Painkillers: February 2007 Archives

Common Pain Relievers Increase Blood Pressure Risk in Men


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


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

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.