New painkiller draws mixed reviews from doctors (11-13-06)
The first published studies of Arcoxia, the drug that Merck & Co. hopes will take the place of its withdrawn painkiller Vioxx, are getting mixed reviews from doctors, some of whom say the results do not make a case for the medication's approval.
The critics cite not just Arcoxia's side effects but also that Merck tested it against diclofenac, an older painkiller known to raise heart risks. A fairer comparison would have been to a medicine that does not do that, such as naproxen, sold as Aleve, they say.
"The development program for Arcoxia is fatally flawed," said Dr. Steven Nissen, a Cleveland Clinic cardiologist who formerly headed the Food and Drug Administration's cardiac drug advisory panel. "My advice to the FDA is that they should not approve this drug."
Dr. David Graham, an FDA drug safety expert who has criticized his agency's handling of Vioxx, agreed.
"It's my own suspicion that this study was intentionally designed to minimize the possibility of their having a repeat of what happened with VIGOR," the study that revealed Vioxx's heart risks, he said.http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/nation/4330749.html
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