Remember when you were a kid and you told your mother that everybody else was doing something you wanted to do too? For most moms that excuse never worked!
That’s why we’re so surprised to see the latest Celebrex ads. The first paragraph says it all:
“When it comes to relieving arthritis pain, you may think some prescription NSAID pain relievers, like ibuprofen and naproxen, don’t have any cardiovascular risks. But based on the available research, that’s not clear. And if you look closer, the FDA requires all these NSAID pain relievers, including Celebrex, to have the same cardiovascular warning.”
Read between the lines and what they’re saying is that all these anti-inflammatory drugs have the same risks. Gee, what a great excuse! How about it, mom? Why not take Celebrex since all these drugs may increase the risk for heart attacks and strokes?
In some respects, Pfizer’s candor is refreshing. The ad states unequivocally that “Any prescription NSAID, including Celebrex, may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death.” The next paragraph reinforces the message, “All NSAIDs, including Celebrex, also increase the chance of stomach and intestine problems, such as bleeding and ulcers, which can occur without warning and may cause death.”
Such clear warnings should give people pause. Most of us would prefer to avoid things that “may cause death.” On the other hand, drug companies have figured out that many people ignore such dire messages. (Take a look at a pack of cigarettes if you need verification.) And if someone were to experience a stroke or heart attack, the drug company is likely off the hook. After all, they told you so! It’s your own damn fault if you die prematurely.
There may be a place for Celebrex and other NSAIDs. But the research shows that such drugs are not miracles against arthritis pain. Given the risks that Pfizer lays out so clearly, we’re sticking with home remedies, fish oil and aspirin.