YONKERS, NY—In light of recent news about potential safety problems associated with the painkiller Celebrex, Consumer Reports Best Buys Drugs, a project of Consumers Union, is urging patients to talk to their doctors about whether or not they should consider alternatives. That is especially the case for people who have an elevated risk of heart disease or stroke.
The organization’s recently launched Web site, crbestbuydrugs.org, includes a free report that can help consumers sort through the evidence on all the arthritis and pain medicines, including Cox-2 drugs Celebrex and Bextra. The report offers advice on safe and affordable alternatives to these medicines and chooses two Best Buy drugs in the category: generic ibuprofen and generic salsalate, a cousin to aspirin.
“This is a critical situation for millions of Americans who have been taking these medicines,” said Joel Gurin, Executive Vice-President of Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. “We urge them to go to our Web site, read the report and touch base with their doctor.”
In many cases, consumers at risk for the dangerous gastrointestinal side effects of this class of drugs can reduce that risk by taking old-line, less expensive non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines along with a drug that helps protect the stomach, the report states. Such consumers have been the main candidates for a Cox-2 drug.
“Substantial reform must happen if consumers are to have confidence in the prescription drugs they take and the regulators policing the pharmaceutical marketplace,” said Rob Schneider, Prescription for Change’s campaign director. “Reform should start with the appointment of an FDA Commissioner, independent and ongoing safety monitoring of drugs, and transparency of drugs studies and their results.”