Merck is seeking approval for Arcoxia, the drug designed to be the successor to Merck's withdrawn painkiller Vioxx.
Vioxx was pulled from the market in 2004 after a study found that it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke. More than 11,000 lawsuits have been filed, alleging Merck was aware of the risks of Vioxx earlier and should have warned patients.
Merck has released the result from a study that found no more heart risk from Arcoxia than from diclofenac, also called Voltaren, an older drug commonly used in Europe. The Arcoxia study looked at data from 24,000 patients, and two other clinical trials bring the total number of patients examined to 34,000.However, the trials also held warning signs. Many patients stopped taking Arcoxia because of high blood pressure problems, and those who took Arcoxia may have had a slightly greater chance of developing congestive heart failure than those who did not. Voltaren might also cause some risk of heart disease itself, making the comparison somewhat dubious.
Arcoxia (etoricoxib) is a COX-2 selective inhibitor, just like Vioxx. Why should we believe that this medicine is any safer than Vioxx that killed 60,000 people before it was taken off the market?
It is in the identical class of drugs, and the FDA has not improved in the least at protecting the public from dangerous drugs.
With the number of Vioxx lawsuits -- and courtroom defeats -- climbing, Merck is looking for another "blockbuster" drug to pay for that first disaster. So they're already crowing about the "positive results" of Arcoxia, another worthless painkiller they hope the FDA will approve very soon.
But those "positive results" come from a study that Merck has yet to submit to any external review board. For your own protection, it is wise to remain highly skeptical of all drugs, but especially new ones. Also be suspicious of research funded by those who want to sell the product.
Study after study has shown that the results, unsurprisingly, tend to be biased.
The few details Merck has released may have been enough to wet the appetites of Wall Street for a little while, but not nearly enough to satisfy medical experts, including the American College of Cardiology that called the findings a very carefully crafted press release.
When it comes to treating your pain, are you willing to take a chance on a drug -- sold behind the counter or in front of it -- that can cripple or kill you? Merck was very enthusiastic about Vioxx, too, when it first came out, and tens of thousands of people are dead as a result.
Here are some other safe, natural pain-killers:
Ginger: This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or "Indian frankincense," this herb contains specific active anti-inflammatory ingredients, referred to as boswellic acids that animal studies have shown significantly reduce inflammation. This is one of my personal favorites as I have seen it work well with many of my rheumatoid arthritis patients
Bromelain: This enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful.
Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a "joint lubricant" and an anti-inflammatory. I have also used this for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards. I used a topical preparation for this.
Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils: These contain the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain. If you struggle with dry skin in the winter, it is a strong indicator that you are deficient in these fats.
<!--?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /--><st1:city><st1:place>Cayenne</st1:place></st1:city> Cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body's supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to the brain.