January 12, 2011

Drugs cause damage even after you stop taking them

You probably know that Merck had to withdraw its pain drug Vioxx in 2004. The recall came after a study showed Vioxx significantly increased the risk of heart disease and death in those who used it. During the five years it was on the market, it caused nearly 40,000 deaths. You also might know that I was the first to warn of Vioxx's terrible side effects in 2000. Well, today I've got another warning for you about this terrible drug.

Why would I need to warn you about a drug that's off the market?

If you're taking any of the other cox-2 inhibitor NSAID drugs, such as Celebrex, lessons from the Vioxx calamity apply to these drugs as well. Here's why.

Research now shows that your increased risk of dropping dead doesn't stop when you stop using Vioxx (or any anti-inflammatory). The new study found that your risk of blood clots or death doubled for the first year after you stopped the drug. That's a big story, even if you never took this class of drug. I'll explain why.

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Vioxx is an anti-inflammatory. Note the word "anti." It interferes with a key enzyme. The enzyme has several functions. Aside from its role in inflammation, it also generates life sustaining lubricating chemicals for your blood vessels. Shut these down and your blood will turn to sludge and clot. If I knew this years in advance, surely Merck did as well. But with this study, we see that the effects last long past the active use of the chemical.

High school physics teaches that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So if you interfere with one process by blocking it, there will be many downstream effects from the blockade. Make a dam, and you know that you will get a lake behind it. But what about the loss of yearly floods, which make the downstream lands fertile? What about fish migration? We don't discover these things until years after we're foolish enough to tamper with nature or your own body.

The study's co-author Harlan Krumholz echoed my comments. He said: "To me, these results from the Vioxx studies about what happened to people after they stopped taking the drug may even be more important than the studies that showed risk when they were on the drug."

But this isn't just about Vioxx. It's about any drug that belongs to the "anti" class. That includes just about every drug there is. But the evidence in this study goes straight to the heart of anti-inflammatories. Once they cause damage, they will continue to cause damage even after you stop taking the drug.

If you're taking these anti-inflammatories for joint pain, there are much better ways to treat your joints. This includes Prolozone, prolotherapy, FSM, and many other treatments I've told you about in my newsletter (available on my website). You can also try supplements, such as Advanced Joint Formula, which work with your body instead of against it.

Ref: Arch Intern Med., 2010;170(22).

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