The popular pain relief drug Vioxx (rofecoxib) seems to increase the risk of high blood pressure in older adults, whereas its main competitor [Celebrex (celecoxib) does not, new research suggests.
“Several studies, including this one, suggest that Vioxx but not [Celebrex is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure,” lead researcher Dr. Daniel H. Solomon of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, told Reuters Health. “This is important for doctors and patients to consider when starting one of these medicines.”
As reported in the medical journal Hypertension, Solomon and colleagues studied 17,844 subjects 65 years of age or older. During the 1999 to 2000 study period, 3915 patients were diagnosed with and began treatment for high blood pressure.
Vioxx and [Celebrex use in these patients was compared with use among subjects who did not develop high blood pressure.
Vioxx users were 60 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure than [Celebrex users or people who didn’t use any NSAIDs, the drug group that includes Motrin, Vioxx, and [Celebrex among many others.
In patients with chronic kidney, liver, or heart problems, Vioxx use doubled the risk of high blood pressure compared with [Celebrex.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. William B. White of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, notes that the investigators have provided “some important insight” into the blood pressure-associated effects of these drugs.
Moreover, he concludes, “great caution should be taken with using Vioxx or any NSAID in patients with (kidney or heart problems), even for short periods of time.”
SOURCE: Hypertension, August 2004.
Revision date: July 9, 2011
Last revised: by David A. Scott, M.D.