Bextra is a prescription medication used to treat the pain associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and painful menstrual cramping. Bextra is in a class of medications known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Bextra is effective because it reduces substances in the body that cause inflammation, fever, and pain. Vioxx, another commonly used NSAID, was recalled in 2004 after studies indicated that taking Vioxx regularly for eighteen months or longer doubled a patient’s risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. Because Bextra is similar in nature to Vioxx, its safety has also been called into question. Studies have shown an increased risk in heart complications for patients who have undergone cardiac bypass surgery and who are taking Bextra. Pfizer, the drugs manufacturer, announced in 2004 its plans to study the drugs long term cardiovascular effects.
Within the first two weeks of using Bextra, some patients have experienced serious skin reactions, including rashes, hives, itching, swelling and inflammation of the face, lips and tongue. These can be signs of an allergic reaction and must be reported to a physician to evaluate the seriousness of the reaction. Breathing difficulty and anaphylactic shock are rare but serious conditions associated with an allergic reaction and must be treated in an emergency room.
Other serious skin conditions have been associated with the use of Bextra. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis, are rare but serious side effects of the drug Bextra. SJS is a condition in which the epidermis separates from the dermis and is a potentially life threatening and painful condition. Toxic epidermal necrolysis is a condition wherein the skin turns bright red (similar to a burn) and begins to peel. See a doctor immediately for either of these conditions.
Notify a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following while taking the drug Bextra: abdominal tenderness, discomfort, or pain; nausea; bloody vomit; tarry, black, or bloody stools, unexplained weight gain, swelling, or water retention; fatigue or lethargy; yellowing of the skin or eyes; flu-like symptoms; unusual bruising or bleeding.
While on the drug Bextra, patients should be monitored by a physician in order to note the following rare, but possible side effects: low or high blood pressure; blood clotting, heart problems. Changes in sleep or eating habits, confusion, depression, nervousness or any other unusual behavior should be evaluated by a physician.