The FDA wants stricter warning labels for painkillers to further bring attention to the risks and possible side effects after decades of research. The Food and Drug Administration have demanded a modification on the labels of well-know painkillers to better emphasize their increased risk of strokes or heart attacks.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or otherwise known as NSAID’s, will be soon featuring harsher warning to caution against their possible side-effects. Painkillers have been reported as being the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, with studies showing that 70% of Americans are on one or more prescription drugs.
Starting with pain-relieving medications such as celecoxib (Celebrex) or diclofenac (Voltaren), labels will be alerting consumers of the increased chances of heart attack or stroke. It was previously written in the text that they can induce such risks due to long-term use, but the FDA had conducted research that prompted the change to say that it can increase the risk of strokes or heart attacks within the first few weeks of use.
The label will also note that NSAID’s will be more likely to induce heart attacks more in people with known issues such as heart failure or recent hear attacks than in those with no affecting condition.
Blockbuster painkiller rofecoxib (Vioxx) has been pulled off the market due to recent research. While gaining an advantage over the competing drugs with its popularity growing among people with stomach sensitivities or issues, it was publically stated that patients should be warned of the even higher risks of strokes and heart attacks due to its use.
Other drugs, such as Bextra, have also been asked to remove their product off the market entirely because of the high risks it may pose to patients’ health.
For now, only prescription pain-relieving drugs will be featuring the modified label, but the FDA is soon to tackle other well known, over-the-counter NSAID’s such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), which will also undergo the same change. The painkillers already contain the warning to restrain their use only to 10 days, with the FDA shortly backing the need to use as lower dosage as little as possible.
Painkillers have always been under the watchful eye of the FDA since 2004. They have encountered issues of safety, efficacy and the on-going battle of addiction that they might cause after repeated uses.
The irrefutable conclusion, however, is that so far there have been no clear, definitive proof that one prescription drug might carry higher risks than another. At least according to the FDA. Labels still hint at the fact that not all painkillers hold the same risks and consumers have the option of switching to another, safer nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Evidence either way has not been provided yet.
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