Arthritis Care finds highlighted drugs face medical probe

Drugs highlighted by Arthritis Care in its "Good News in Arthritis

campaign are to be investigated for possible side effects.

Arthritis treatments Celebrex and Vioxx - known as Cox-2 selective inhibitors - are to be the subject of a review by the European Medicines Evaluation Agency because of fears that they cause heart and stomach problems.

Cox-2s feature prominently in the Good News in Arthritis pack sent out on request as part of the campaign, which has been funded by manufacturers of Cox-2s, Pharmacia and Pfizer.

Neil Betteridge, head of public policy and campaigning at Arthritis Care, said that the charity had no plans to remove Cox-2 inhibitors from its literature. "An investigation is not a condemnation but safety is paramount. There seems to be a squabble between clinicians but anecdotally people tell us that Cox-2s have fewer side effects than older anti-inflammatory drugs."

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