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Archive for June 22nd, 2010

Too many drugs

Pfizer is developing a new biotech drug for reducing knee pain associated with osteoarthritis.  A later stage trial shows the drug is a more effective osteoarthritis treatment than a placebo.

Tanezumab is an infusion therapy.  It is taken every eight weeks and might be the first biotechnology drug for helping people with osteoarthritis in their knees.

Phizer’s recent study had close to 700 patients involved.  All of the patients were unable to take standard pain killers like NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen).  The trial did not include patients wearing bio mechanical knee braces or unloading type orthotic devices.  Drugs only.

Pfizer is the same company responsible for Celebrex.  Celebrex a COX II Inhibitor is marketed as a pain reliever that is safe for the stomach.  Over 18 million prescriptions were sold in the first year of Celebrex’s release.  That is more than Viagra and Lipitor combined!  It was one of the most aggressive marketing campaigns in pharmaceutical history.

Since that time Celebrex has been reported to the FDA for strokes, sudden cardiac death, heart attacks, and heart failure.  In February of 2005 there were 116 cases reported of serious side effects for the month.

Dr. David Graham, a safety reviewer for the FDA was asked about drugs like Celebrex increasing heart attack risk.  He said, “There is no question in my mind that there is risk from the first tablet”.