It’s a worse day if you’re on Celebrex:
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A government-sponsored trial of Pfizer Inc.’s blockbuster arthritis drug Celebrex was halted after patients taking the medicine had more than twice as many heart attacks as patients taking a placebo, the company said on Friday.
Shares of Pfizer, a component of the Dow Jones industrial average, fell 17 percent in early trading following news of the long-term trial, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.
The heart-attack findings for Celebrex come only 10 weeks following Merck & Co.’s recall of its similar arthritis drug, Vioxx, after a study found the drug doubled the incidence of heart attack and stroke among patients taking it to prevent colon polyps that cause cancer. Both drugs are from a class known as COX-2 inhibitors.
“This does not bode well for COX-2 inhibitors in general,” said Ira Loss, an analyst at Washington Analysis. “The sense had been that Celebrex is somehow different from the others.”
The patients in the study were given 400mg and 800mg daily doses of Celebrex. The normal daily dose is 100mg for rheumatoid arthritis and 200mg for osteoarthritis.
One of my co-workers is married to a woman who works for Pfizer, and he pointed out the extra-large dosage given patients in the study. If I were taking Celebrex for my tennis elbow, I’m not sure that would make me feel better.