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Voltaren: Anti-inflammatory drug may cause heart attack
A study shows that the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac may pose greater health risks than the arthritis drug Vioxx. These risks include a 40% increased chance of heart attack and stroke. Vioxx was taken off the market in 2004 when evidence of similar health risks was linked to the drug.
A study conducted by researchers from the University of Newcastle in Australia and reported in an issue of JAMA shows evidence that when taken in high doses medications such as diclofenac and ibuprofen may significantly increase the risk of heart attack. Diclofenac, marketed under many different names including Voltaren and Cataflam, may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke by as much as 40% according to the study. Researchers found that diclofenac appears to be harmful at even commonly used doses causing them to urge health officials to review whether diclofenac should stay on the market.
Arcoxia, Merck's replacement for Vioxx, demonstrates similar risks as those posed by diclofenac. Vioxx and Arcoxia are both COX-2 inhibitors used to alleviate pain in arthritis patients.
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