If you watch the current commercial for Celebrex (celecoxib) prepare to be amazed. You will find it on the Celebrex.com website.
The manufacturer starts with an interesting message about simple physics:
“A body at rest tends to stay at rest while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. Staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms.”
No one can complain about that message. We all want to stay active and the idea that Celebrex can provide 24-hour relief from arthritis pain “so moving is easier” is appealing. But then comes the catch:
“All prescription NSAIDs, like CELEBREX, ibuprofen, naproxen, and meloxicam have the same cardiovascular warning. They all may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke which can lead to death. This chance increases if you have heart disease or risk factors, such as high blood pressure or when NSAIDs are taken for long periods.”
“NSAIDs, including CELEBREX increase the chance of serious skin or allergic reactions or stomach and intestinal problems such as bleeding and ulcers which can occur without warning and may cause death. Patients also taking aspirin and the elderly are at increased risk for stomach bleeding and ulcers.”
“Do not take CELEBREX if you’ve had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergies to aspirin, NSAIDs or sulfonamides. Get help right away if you’ve had swelling of the face or throat or trouble breathing.”
Are you as amazed as we are that that after all that they have the temerity to suggest: “Ask your doctor about Celebrex for a body in motion”? Seriously, they want people to ask for a prescription medicine that “may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke which can lead to death.” As if that isn’t bad enough, you are supposed to ignore the possibility of bleeding and ulcers “which can occur without warning and may cause death.”
We have to assume that this ad is working or else the company would not be spending millions of dollars on television commercials. It does astonish us, though. Do viewers just tune out the announcer when he describes these dire consequences and instead tune in to the happy and active actors? Or do people just assume that these serious complications are irrelevant to them and only happen to others, so they are nothing to be concerned about.
Well, it turns out that Celebrex is related to the arthritis drug Vioxx, that was removed from the market for the very reason that it led to tens of thousands of heart attacks. We have always wondered why Celebrex seems to have avoided the fate of its competitor and is now being promoted aggressively. The same people who suffer from arthritis (older people) are the most likely to experience bleeding ulcers.
So…what’s someone with arthritis to do? We think NSAIDs should be reserved for the last resort and should be taken intermittently (to let the stomach heal periodically from insult from such drugs). We do recommend a wide range of alternative approaches to arthritis pain. They include:
• Turmeric (curcumin)
• Tart cherry juice or cherry concentrate
• Pomegranate juice
• Olive oil
• Salmon • Bluefish
• Vitamin D
• Gin-soaked raisins
• Certo & grape juice
• Apple cider vinegar, apple & grape juice
• Fish oil & green-lipped mussels
You can learn more about these options in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis or Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy or Quick & Handy Remedies. You might also like to take advantage of our very special holiday offer (good through 12/19/12). Buy The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies and get 50% off Recipes & Remedies from The People’s Pharmacy with lots of delicious suggestions for anti-inflammatory meals. You can find all our books and our holiday “bundles” in the People’s Pharmacy Store.
If you have had good luck with Celebrex without side effects, we would like to hear from you. If you have had problems with Celebrex or other NSAIDs like ibuprofen, naproxen or meloxicam we would also like to hear your story. Please comment below.