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New Research On Arthritis Drug

Apr 15, 2005 | Xtra News, New Zealand

Otago University has given health officials new information on an arthritis drug which is under threat of being withdrawn from the market.

Its Intensive Medicines Monitoring Programme has completed a study showing patients taking Celebrex have the same risk of heart attack or stroke as those taking the already withdrawn drug Vioxx.

Programme head Mira Harrison-Woolrych says they studied 11,000 people taking either of the drugs known as cox-2 inhibitors and found the same level of risk.

She says it is the first study of its kind, because it looks at the real-life use of the medicines as prescribed by New Zealand GPs.

However, drug company Pfizer claims the study should be read with extreme caution.

General manager Mark Crotty says it goes against a large body of evidence and a United States study of 1.3 million people found no increased risk with Celebrex.

He says the Otago study was a real life trial, not a clinical trial, and relied on vigilant reporting by GPs.

Health officials are due to decide this month whether all cox-2 inhibitors should be withdrawn.

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