Is%20Naproxen%20The%20Only%20Safe%20Painkiller - Is...

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Is Naproxen The Only Safe Painkiller? Matthew Herper , 09.14.06, 1:35 PM ET Two new studies of Vioxx are being widely interpreted as a disaster for Merck . But the problems for the drugmaker are probably limited. The real story: Most of the drugs that are used for treating the pain and swelling of arthritis may increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots over the long term. A quick primer: Medical scientists give the most credence to conclusions drawn from a single clinical trial--a big study where patients were randomly assigned to receive a particular treatment. Less reliable are observational studies--where data is collected after the fact from people who decided to take a pill. Sometimes researchers try to understand what is going on by pooling all this data, but that opens the door to mathematical gymnastics. There have been two big reviews of the available data on these pain pills. In June, the British Medical Journal published a major analysis of all the controlled clinical trials that have so far been presented. On Tuesday evening, the Journal of the American Medical Association
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Is%20Naproxen%20The%20Only%20Safe%20Painkiller - Is...

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