Cardiovascular risks associated with arthritis drugs can be at bay as per new research

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Cardiovascular risks associated with arthritis drugs can be at bay as per new research

Cardiovascular risks possess a great threat when one takes up the arthritis drugs. Thus, the researchers may be on their way to finding safer drugs for arthritis treatment that don't lead to potentially harmful cardiovascular side effects.

In 2004, arthritis drug, Vioxx, manufactured by Merck ($MRK) was withdrawn from the market due to the increased risk of heart attack or stroke, and safety concerns. Currently, the European Medicines Agency has also recommended patients with underlying heart conditions to stop using the painkiller diclofenac due to a small high risk of heart attack and stroke.

Vioxx, diclofenac, ibuprofen and Celebrex acts by inhibiting an enzyme called COX-2, previously thought to be found in the blood vessels where it helped avert the formation of clots. As per the scientists, drugs that inhibited COX-2 would increase the risk of clotting. But researchers at Imperial College, London have now explored that in mice, COX-2 is largely absent from the major blood vessels and is instead present in the brain, kidney, thymus and gut, where it might be influencing cardiovascular health.

As per Jane Mitchell of Imperial's faculty, "Now we know the true sites of COX-2, we can begin to develop new ideas that will lead to better drugs for arthritis and cancer with fewer side effects." The outcome, which identify where in the body arthritis drugs act, could aid scientists explore COX-2 inhibitors that carry less risk of stroke or heart attack for patients.

European Medicines Agency

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