I asked my sister to write about how the Vioxx withdrawl impacts
I've suffered with arthritis since I was an infant. At the time I was one of
the youngest ever diagnosed with Juvenile Onset Polyarticular Rheumatoid
Arthritis. Over the years the doctors have put me on medication after
medication in an attempt to ease the pain and slow the progression of the
arthritis as it destroyed my joints. Into my adulthood and after years of
being on Naproxen (an NSAID)
my stomach simply couldn't take it anymore. With the risk of a bleeding
ulcer creeping near, my Rheumatologist switched me to Vioxx (A COX-2
inhibitor). This drug has been my salvation. Not only was I able to get
by with half the normal adult dose, I only had to take the pill once a day
and it didn't bother my stomach at all.
Then out of the blue one morning I get up and all over the news I hear about
Vioxx being recalled due to potential side effects on the heart. I was
devastated and called my doctor right away. The only two options suggested
at that time were Celebrex and Bextra. Both are sulfonamides, and I am
very allergic to those types of drugs, so I can't take them. So after my
doctor had a few days to research other medication alternatives I was given
Voltaren. This drug is a NSAID and while it didn't upset my stomach it did
nothing to ease the arthritis pain. After a week of barely being able to
move I couldn't take it anymore. Next I tried Sulindac. This is also a
NSAID and while it also didn't affect my stomach it did make my heart race
and I felt very dizzy and short of breath within hours of the first dose.
That was also the last dose I took. So I was back to Vioxx and feeling more
normal after a few days.
Now I hear that Celebrex is being looked at for possible heart problems as
Vioxx was. I'm sorry but this is just ridiculous. If Vioxx works for me
and I know the potential risks then I should be allowed to get it!
Celebrex hasn't been pulled (yet),
but if it is, we'll have lost another very valuable drug.
Yes, there are a large number of anti-inflammatory drugs. But not all people
can substitute one for another. My sister doesn't have a good alternative to
Vioxx. Despite the cardiovascular risks, it's by far the best drug for her.
We wish Merck had not withdrawn it totally, and don't have a good plan for
the day her current supply runs out.