Posts tagged ‘prostaglandin’
February 18, 2005 was an important day for drug makers, namely Merck and Pfizer, as the decision to keep their Cox-2 inhibitor drugs on the market looks ever so promising. Advisory groups to the Food and Drug Administration have recommended that the benefits of the Cox-2 inhibitors, (Vioxx, Celebrex, and Bextra), outweigh the risks. This in turn sent Merck, (maker of Vioxx), and Pfizer, (maker of Celebrex and Bextra), stock shares up 13 and 7 percent respectively. Not bad for a one day return in the bank. Now let’s consider the health returns.
Cox-1 and Cox-2 inhibitors selectively block an enzyme that is responsible for inflammation. They are a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) because these medications essentially fight inflammation. Drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen and to some extent diclofenac, block both the Cox-2 and Cox-1 enzymes while other such as Vioxx and Celebrex block just the Cox-2. The reason so many doctors like the heavy duty Cox-2 meds is because they do not block the Cox-1 enzyme, which helps the stomach make a beneficial prostaglandin (a hormone-like chemical messenger), to protect the stomach lining. This is why NSAIDs often times cause stomach and gastrointestinal ulcerations. However, like all medications, there are risks and side effects. And in the Fall of 2004 when news resurfaced that the Cox-2 inhibitor Vioxx was responsible for cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks, turmoil erupted and it was pulled from the shelves. Merck’s stock plummeted and medical doctors threw up their arms as they knew no other way to get their patients out of pain other than revert back to the NSAIDs. I covered this in November 2004. We have now gone full circle, so ironically enough it is a good place to pick up again here in 2005. (more…)