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I can't find a drug that's as good as one I used to take – what can I do?

Q) I'd been on Celebrex since 2000 when I was taken off it as precaution as a result of Vioxx being withdrawn from the market in 2004. Having tried the various other arthritic drugs, I haven't found one as good as Celebrex. I didn't have any adverse reactions to it, and I'm very fortunate that I don't have any problems regarding my heart, blood pressure and circulation. I wonder how many other arthritis patients have been having this problem?
Irene Whitehead, Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire (Spring 2006)

A) Oh dear, we're having a lot of problems like this. As a result of the adverse publicity surrounding rofecoxib (Vioxx) there has been a reluctance by GPs to continue prescribing any of the coxibs, cardiovascular risks or not. This is unfortunate as many people, like yourself, have found no satisfactory alternative. The irony is that there's some evidence that all of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) carry a slightly higher risk of heart attack and stroke. However, many of our patients need these drugs to move and maintain function. So, providing the risks and benefits are explained (as with any drug), I'm happy to prescribe; but every case has to be assessed individually.


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