Pfizer sent an informational letter to healthcare professionals covering risks associated with its arthritis medication Bextra, and also is sponsoring a new clinical study of Celebrex. The new study, which comes less than three weeks after Merck withdrew its competing Vioxx medication amid concerns of increased risk of cardiovascular complications, will attempt to assess whether Celebrex prevents heart attacks and strokes in patients in patients with serious cardiovascular disease.
Pfizer said it would be working to update the Bextra product label to include information regarding the risk of a very rare but serious skin reaction that exists with Bextra primarily within the first two weeks of therapy. In the letter, Pfizer reviewed information about the cardiovascular profile of Bextra, suggesting there is no increased risk of cardiovascular thromboembolic events in the nearly 8,000 studied osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis sufferers taking the drug for periods of up to 52 weeks.
Separately, Pfizer has introduced new TV and print advertising for Celebrex seeking switches from rival Rx and OTC drugs. The ads, by Kaplan Thaler, target adult sufferers of osteoarthritis who are not getting sufficient pain relief from other medications and takes aim at negative public perception of prescription pain relievers, which many mistakenly associate with narcotics. The "No more, no less" campaign, featuring colorful cartoons of athletic endeavors, advises that one Celebrex pill provides all day and night relief from OA pain and inflammation, targets the source of joint pain and inflammation and does not make users feel foggy, as it is not a narcotic.