I came across this controversial article about the drug companies using celebrities to market their drugs. Written by Jack Swint more interestingly to me it also discusses NSAIDs for osteoarthritis and some scary statistics about their side effects. You can read the full article here.
I cannot for the life of me work out why Doctors continue to prescribe these drugs for a condition that is defined by their own profession as being a NON-INFLAMMATORY arthritis. If it is non inflammatory then why should a non-steroidal ANTI-INFLAMMATORY drug help?
As Jack reports the research (done by the drug companies) claims that they do help:
According to another Pfizer product advertisement, just one 200-mg Celebrex a day can provide 24-hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. In clinical studies with osteoarthritis patients, Celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. In fact, Pfizer claims it improves pain, stiffness, and physical function. In their 12-week study, osteoarthritis patients experienced sustained pain relief throughout the duration of the study from weeks 2 to 12.
The only reason NSAIDs help the pain of osteoarthritis is because the muscles, tendons and ligaments (the soft tissue) around the joint are inflamed and painful. This pain is reduced by NSAIDs but they do not help with the actual pain of the degenerated cartilage as this is not inflamed.
The side effects and the statistics about these drugs are highlighted in this article are really pretty scary reading.
Most Serious Side Effects And Precautions:
Celebrex may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke that can lead to death. This chance increases if you have heart disease or risk factors for it, such as high blood pressure or when NSAIDs are taken for long periods. Each year 41,000 older adults are hospitalized and 3,300 of these die from ulcers caused by NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, usually for treatment of arthritis) and thousands of younger adults are hospitalized each year.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition and the degeneration will increase over the years. At the moment there is no cure it so whatever medication you take for it you will be taking for a long time which increases the risk of suffering these side effects. Plus the cost at $2.39 per day is prohibitively expensive to the individual, the state funded healthcare systems around the world or the insurance companies is
Now please don’t think I am saying that anti-inflammatory drugs should not be used. They certainly have their place in treating types of inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis. Also they are useful for injuries, for example if you suffer a whiplash when a short term course of NSAIDs is a good start to a treatment plan.
I have to question if there is not a better and safer way to relieve the pain and soreness in the soft tissue from a poorly functioning joint. People are commenting that Jack doesn’t understand what they are going through. I do understand ( I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis 22 years ago aged 28) and I am sure if I had taken drugs like Celebrex for all that time I would now be on countless other drugs to counter the side effects of these drugs. I am of the opinion that taking NSAIDS for osteoarthritis is really not a sensible treatment option.
So if you or someone you know is taking NSAIDs for osteoarthritis or you know someone who’s Granny has osteoarthritis share this with them by Facebook so they can warn them so they don’t end up one of the 3300 dying each year from bleeding stomach ulcers. After all nobody ever died from osteoarthritis….