Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Germany to issue COX-2 guidelines

Germany will issue guidelines in the next few days to significantly restrict the use of so-called COX-2 inhibitors to ease pain, the country's drug regulator said on Monday.

Patients who either have had a heart attack or stroke, suffer from circulatory disorders of the heart or are at a high risk of developing such conditions should no longer use the medications, the regulator said in a statement.

The German regulator said patients with high blood pressure that can not be stabilised also should not use etoricoxib, another name for Merck & Co's Arcoxia.

The German regulator said that COX-2 inhibitors-- the general category to which Arcoxia, Vioxx, Celebrex and Bextra belong -- should be taken only in the smallest possible effective dose and only as long as absolutely needed.

It said that a risk evaluation process in the European Union for the class of COX-2 inhibitors was continuing and that a report was expected in April.