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On November 29, 2006, an FDA panel voted in favor of approving the Cox-2 inhibitor, Celebrex, for the treatment of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Extremely debilitating, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis affects between 30,000 to 60,000 children in the United States alone. To this date, the only medications available to children for this condition were naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin.

Celebrex, the only Cox-2 inhibitor still on the market (Vioxx and Bextra were pulled from the shelves in 2004 and 2005), has been shown to alleviate many of the gastrointestinal side effects caused by taking NSAIDs while significantly elevating the risk for heart attacks and strokes. The panel reviewed a short-term study and cited that they would approve the drug for short term use. In order to recommend Celebrex for long-term use, more research needs to be done to ensure that it does not impose the same detrimental effects in children that it poses in adults. The panel exists to provide an informed opinion; the FDA does not necessarily need to follow its advice but has been noted that it ususally does.

For the safety of our children, I truly believe that more research needs to be done in regards to the cerebro/cardiovascular effects on adolescents before they approve Celebrex for this condition, particularly as no mention was made that said this drug worked any better than the ones already available.

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