Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Another Pain Drug had Problems

Today's newspaper headlines included one on the dangers of taking Celebrex. Apparently, Celebrex is another COX-2 inhibitor, and can cause heart problems when taken in large quantity or over a long period of time. There's no indication of how log is "long period of time", but anything over 400mg a day apparently leads to increased risk. Celebrex is the second drug to be found causing the problem, the first being Vioxx.

I have a chronic pain problem. I have a pain level that swings between the "3" on the average doctor's pain scale to a "7". The scale goes from "0" (no pain) to "10" (the worst pain ever experienced). Of course, everybody's "worst pain" is different, but let's assume it's the pain a pregnant mother experiences during a 40-hour labor. I've experienced a "10" twice. The first time followed a boxing accident and a fall when I was 18. I was in such pain my entire body was rigid with it. The other time was when I was forced out of bed eleven hours after having a spinal tap. I hope the corpsman that made me get up has never worked in a hospital since then.

I've taken both Celebrex and Vioxx. Neither has given me any heart problems. I can't take Celebrex because it thins my blood too much, and I'm susceptible to nose-bleeds. I no longer take Vioxx because the military no longer stocks it. I'm currently taking another COX-2 inhibitor, Bextra. Without these drugs, my pain level goes up at least two levels.

My father died at age 79 from congestive heart failure. My mother died at 80 from a stroke. Both were born long before the Depression, and both worked hard all their lives. I don't have any great fear of dying early from taking pain medication. Since stress is supposed to also be a killer, and pain causes stress, taking a pain medication such as Vioxx or Celebrex (or Bextra) may actually PROLONG my life. These are the kinds of decisions I believe should be left to the patient, not decided by some bureaucrat in Washington, or forced on the rest of us by lawsuit-happy trial lawyers.


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