Patients Continue to Use Recalled COX-2s

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0,0

Despite warnings that themost popular pain relievers,cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors,can damage hearts,stomachs, and skin, many Americansplan to keep taking them,saying the relief is worth the risk.Recent recalls have tainted theimages of trusted remedies andhave forced physicians toreplace them with confusingalternatives, prompting manypatients to ration what is left ofmedications that have workedfor them.

Approximately 75 million Americans—1 in 4—are living withchronic pain, according to theNational Pain Foundation ofEnglewood, Colo. With so manypatients seeking relief, physicianscontinue writing prescriptionsfor COX-2s, even after anFDA advisory panel in Februarywarned that all drugs in the classhad the same safety problems.Even though similar warningswere issued for older pain remedies,known as nonsteroidal antiinflammatorydrugs (NSAIDs),prescriptions are still being writtenfor those as well. NSAIDswere the standard pain medicationfor years, until COX-2s wereintroduced and marketed as easieron the stomach than olderpainkillers.