Celebrex Timeline

December 1998—FDA approves Celebrex for treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, but it must carry the same warning label regarding side effects as older non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

1999—Pfizer conducts a study which finds that Alzheimer’s patients who take Celebrex suffered heart attacks 3.6 times more often than those taking a placebo. The study is never published or submitted to the FDA.

April 1999—The Wall Street Journal reports that after just three months on the market, Celebrex is linked to 10 deaths and 11 cases of gastrointestinal hemorrhage.  Half of the 10 people who died suffered from gastrointestinal bleeding or ulcers.

September 2004—After the withdrawal of Vioxx from the market, Celebrex enjoys a 75% increase in sales—$3.4 billion in 2004 alone.

December 2004—Study conducted by the National Cancer Institute finds that patients taking 800 mg of Celebrex daily were 3.4 times as likely to have a “severe coronary event” and those taking 400 mg were 2.5 times as likely. The trial is halted when the risk factor is seen.

January 24, 2005—Study in the Archives of Internal Medicine says Celebrex and Vioxx have been widely overused.

February 2005—Pfizer acknowledges that it had done a study six years earlier which found that Celebrex patients suffered heart attacks 3.6 times more often than those given a placebo. The company neither published the results nor informed the FDA about them.

August 2005—Already under close scrutiny from the FDA, Celebrex is given a “black-box” warning on its label. Sales of Celebrex drop 40% this year.

February 2007—American Heart Association warns that Celebrex should be used “as a last resort on patients who have heart disease or a risk of developing it.”

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