Celebrex - Dangerous Drug: Be Informed!

By: Shannon Blanchard, Esq.

Celebrex, the brand name for the generic drug celecoxib, is a drug that was initially approved to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The United States Food and Drug Administration later approved it for familial adenomatous polyposis. This drug is a prescription that is classified as a Cox-2 inhibitor, and it is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

Doctors usually prescribe Celebrex because it is a long-term alternative to steroids that can usually only be taken for short periods of time. Celebrex helps to control inflammation and pain by preventing the formation of specific prostaglandins, but not others. This makes the drug less likely to cause gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers.

While those benefits of Celebrex seem like a wonderful answer to some problems, it became obvious that there were some very serious risks associated with Celebrex. Those problems started being noticed shortly after the drug's approval in 1998. Adverse reaction reports began noting very serious side effects in patients taking Celebrex. Heart problems, high blood pressure, and strokes were all noted. A year after the approval, 11 cases of gastrointestinal bleeding and 10 deaths were linked to the drug.

A statement by the FDA in 2005 highlights the deadly risks of taking Celebrex. This statement is one in which the FDA clarified that a boxed warning that highlights certain risks of the drug be added to Celebrex and some other drugs. The statement also clarified that an insert in the package should note a contraindication for patients who are in the immediate post-operative period following a coronary artery bypass.

Despite the very serious side effects of Celebrex, some physicians continue to prescribe the medications because they believe the benefits of taking the medication outweigh the risks of taking it. While that might not harm some patients, it can prove to be a deadly choice or a very bad choice in other cases.

The FDA has acknowledged that there are some very serious side effects linked to Celebrex and similar drugs. Patients who have had a heart attack, ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, allergic reactions, serious skin rashes, liver failure, kidney failure, or a stroke, might have a claim against Celebrex. With the FDA acknowledgement of these side effects, the patient has to prove that the drug is what caused them to have one of those side effects. Pfizer, the company that manufactures Celebrex, has been the subject of class action lawsuits.

When a patient opts to seek compensation from Pfizer through a dangerous drug product liability claim, the patient can bypass having to prove that the drug was improperly prescribed. If the patient opted to seek compensation from the pharmacy or doctor, he or she would have to prove improper prescription as part of the