WASHINGTON The government said today it has asked Pfizer Inc. to withdraw the painkiller Bextra from the market because it increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Regulators also want all other anti-inflammatory drugs in the same class to carry the strongest safety warning possible.
The Food and Drug Administration has been studying the safety of the so-called Cox-2 inhibiters since Merck & Co. voluntarily pulled Vioxx from the market Sept. 30 after heart problems were reported in some users.
In addition to the prescription drugs, the FDA asked manufacturers of over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to revise their labels to include information about the risks of cardiovascular incident and gastrointestinal bleeding.
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