Popular arthritis medicine could be deadly

Experts say Diclofenac should be pulled from the market

Diclofenlac, the country’s second best selling arthritis medicine, was prescribed to over 150,000 patients last year. Some experts believe that was 150,000 times too often.

“We have found that the use of Diclofenac greatly increases the risk of heart problems and premature death,” Gunnar Gislason, a senior research fellow at Gentofte Hospital, told public broadcaster DR.

Healthy patients, as well as those who had pre-existing heart conditions were at risk, according to Gislason, who urged that the drug, which is also sold under many trade names including Diclodan, Diclon and Voltaren, be removed from the market.

“I do not understand how the authorities can be so indifferent,” he told DR. “The research is out there to help them make the right decision.”

Professor Christian Torp-Petersen, who also works at Gentofte Hospital, said that the use of Diclofenlac isn’t even necessary

“There are other products which have the same medical effect without the dangerous side effects,” Petersen told DR. “I don't understand why Diclofenac is even in use.”

Gislason compared Diclofenac to the arthritis medication Vioxx, which was taken off the market in 2004. Vioxx was withdrawn after US authorities said that the drug had cost up to 27,000 thousand American lives.

“We found that Diclofenac has nearly the same level of risk as Vioxx,” said Gislason.