Vioxx, Celebrex, Bextra alternatives
Prices rise after recalls
Vioxx was recalled because of its serious cardiovascular risks resulting in as many as
50,000 deaths in the US alone and about 140,000 injuries
overall. No estimates are available for injuries and deaths in other countries. In April this year, a competitor drug,
Bextra was also
recalled, while Celebrex received
a black box warning. Due to these developments, arthritis patients have been forced to seek alternate treatments.
(Related article: Heart
attack risks of Diclofenac and ibuprofen may force a
recall of these drugs)
Mobic’s price also shot up in the same time period by 9 percent – three times the average 2.4 percent price increase for all drugs in the class known as non
-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The average, national monthly cost for Mobic in March
2005 was $111 for the 7.5mg dose and $157 for the 15mg version.
Meanwhile, generic ibuprofen cost $26 to $30 per month, and the price for all doses increased only slightly during the same time. The analysis reinforces the impact drug company marketing can have on physician prescribing and consumer drug
preferences, especially at a time when consumers are confused and need to
quickly find an alternative drug they can trust. Mobic was widely advertised in late 2004 as an alternative to Vioxx, and also amid
safety concerns raised
about other NSAID drugs. Media reports also frequently mentioned Mobic and generic ibuprofen as alternatives.
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supplements chondroitin and glucosamine)
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs, a free public information and education project, released an updated report that identifies three generics – ibuprofen,
salsalate – as Best Buys. All cost $50 per month or less, are as effective as other drugs in the category, and could save consumers more than $2,100 a year over the highest-priced brand name NSAIDs.
The report advises consumers to:
- Use NSAIDs with caution.
- Don’t overuse over-the-counter NSAIDs (such as
Aleve). Contact or see your doctor if you take an over-the-counter NSAID a few times a week or more, particularly if you are age 60 or older.
How to lower back pain)
- Avoid NSAIDs or use them with extreme caution if you have ever had
stomach ulcers or
- Avoid regular use of high doses of NSAIDs if you have any form of heart or blood vessel disease, or are at high risk of
heart disease or
- Avoid frequent use of NSAIDs if intermittent use brings sufficient
- Consider taking a stomach acid reducing drug along with an NSAID if you need to take an NSAID often.
- Take the lowest dose of an NSAID that brings relief.