Study: doctors switching from suspect painkillersNew prescriptions for painkillers including Pfizer's Celebrex and Bayer's Aleve have fallen precipitously over the past week, according to Verispan data first reported in the Wall Street Journal.
Verispan found that new prescriptions for Cox-2 inhibitor Celebrex (celecoxib) fell 56 percent last week, following the company's Dec. 17 announcement that a clinical trial had been suspended due to increased incidence of heart attacks and strokes among patients taking the drug for the study. Pfizer has since pulled all advertising for Celebrex, at the behest of the Food and Drug Administration, and the drug's share of the market for all arthritis drugs stood at 7.9 percent at the end of last week, down from 14.9 percent the previous week.
Similarly, new prescriptions for naproxen, including Bayer's Aleve, fell 33 percent following the suspension of a National Institutes of Health study in which patients taking the drug appeared to suffer increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Mobic (meloxicam), which is co-marketed by Boehringer Ingelheim and Abbott Laboratories, appeared to be winning the most switches from Celebrex. The drug saw a net gain of 24,088 U.S. patients, including 13,591 who had been taking Celebrex, while generic NSAIDs also saw gains.