Bextra arthritis drug is sold under the name of Valdecoxib. What are the pros and cons of this drug?
Bextra comes under NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). The drug is manufactured by Pharmacia Corporation and distributed by Pfizer.
In 2001, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved the drug Bextra for arthritis, specifically, for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Bextra comes in the form of tablets, in 10 mg or 20 mg concentrations.
Bextra produced good pain relief in arthritic patients. Additionally, when compared to other popular NSAIDs like ibuprofen and diclofenac, Bextra also offered improved gastrointestinal safety. So, no more stomach disorders or internal bleeding for patients who wanted pain relief. Or so it seemed.
By April, 2005, Bextra was removed from the market (Reference Article). The decision to withdraw Bextra from the market came when the FDA decided that risk-to-benefit analysis of the drug showed that risks outweighed potential benefits, both in patients who used the drug in the short-term and the long-term.
Although Bextra drug offered arthritis patients an easy treatment option, it was seen that it had the potential to lead to strokes, cardiovascular problems, heart attacks and fatal skin reactions (Reference Article) in patients.
Following the withdrawal of Bextra arthritis drug, the FDA directive also mentioned that all NSAIDs should carry strong warnings regarding their potential aftereffects.
The FDA has also advised patients who were using Bextra drug for arthritis to discontinue its use altogether or to consult a physician to assess its individual risks compared to benefits.
The drug has a number of potential side effects. Some of them include:
Skin problems like eczema, rashes, skin ulceration
Since the above potential side effects have been identified and the drug has been withdrawn, quite naturally, the sale of Bextra arthritis drug has dropped.
However, many physicians have been dismayed by the FDA’s decision to withdraw Bextra. According to them, Bextra is highly effective in combating pain and should be sold with a warning that the decision to take the medicine should be left to the doctor and patients.
The tough label warning that accompanies other NSAIDs also added to their fear that the non-availability of NSAIDs may hinder patients in their struggle to manage arthritic pain better.
While the stand on Bextra arthritis drug seems to be divided, the only safe course for patients is to consult their doctors to arrive upon the right medication.