Skip to content

    Arthritis Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    New Arthritis Drugs Reduce Ulcer Risk -- At a Cost

    continued...

    The second study, led by a researcher from Birmingham, England, looked at the risk of serious ulcers among people who took Vioxx. To increase accuracy, researchers combined the results of eight studies that included a total of more than 5,000 patients who took Vioxx for arthritis.

    The researchers found that people taking Vioxx were about half as likely as those taking a traditional NSAID to have ulcers that perforated the stomach wall, which caused bleeding or pain.

    Such a reduction is important, but it appears more dramatic than it really is, says Peterson. He says that's because even among people who take large doses of aspirin or similar NSAIDs every day, dangerous or painful ulcers are very rare.

    So Peterson says the new drugs should be reserved for older people or people who have already had an ulcer. "For low-risk patients," he says, "the cost of preventing serious ulcers by using these drugs is very high -- about $400,000 for each complication avoided."

    The study involving Celebrex was funded by G.D. Searle & Co., maker of the drug. The research involving Vioxx received funding from its maker, Merck & Co. Inc.

    Vital Information:

    • Two new prescription drugs for treating arthritis, Celebrex and Vioxx, work just as well as older medications but are less likely to cause ulcers.
    • The occurrence of dangerous or painful ulcers as a side effect is rare, even among people who take large, daily doses of aspirin or other similar drugs.
    • The new arthritis drugs are much more expensive and, according to an editorialist, should be reserved for people at high risk of getting an ulcer.
    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    Mature woman exercise at home
    Hint: Warming up first is crucial.
    feet with gout
    Quiz yourself.
     
    woman in pain
    One idea? Eat fish to curb inflammation.
    senior couple walking
    Can you keep your RA from progressing?
     
    xray of knees with osteoarthritis
    Slideshow
    close up of man wearing dress shoes
    Slideshow
     
    feet with gout
    Quiz
    close up of red shoe in shoebox
    Slideshow
     
    salad
    Video
    two male hands
    ARTICLE
     
    Woman massaging her neck
    Quiz
    5 Lupus Risk Factors
    Article