In the not-so-distant past, Aspirin was virtually the only non-prescription pain reliever on the market. It was the solution for anything from headaches and fever to cramping and arthritis. Then acetaminophen and ibuprofen came along to challenge the pain reliever monopoly, giving the world new options for their pains and fevers. These days, there is a new category of pain relievers known as COX-2 inhibitors. These drugs were designed to avoid the gastric bleeding that is a concern with drugs like aspirin. But these new drugs come with their own set of side effects and complications, which is why they are now under close scrutiny. A few well-known examples of these drugs are Celebrex, Vioxx, and Bextra. Millions of Americans take these drugs for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis as well as common headaches and muscle tension. Most people who watch television have seen the ads for these drugs and heard the long list of side effects at the end. But many people have eagerly sought out and taking these prescriptions despite the potential harm. However, the FDA is alerting consumers to be aware of these side effects and to take the warnings seriously. Vioxx was recently taken off the market when a study showed that it doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke. Celebrex, a very similar drug, is currently under careful evaluation. A December 2004 study of Celebrex by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported a 2.5 fold increase in the risk of major fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular problems for participants taking Celebrex compared to those on a placebo. Even over the counter naproxen pain relievers like Aleve and Bayer have been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. The warnings of the potential dangers of Celebrex listed on the FDA’s Web site include: stomach ulcers that bleed, stomach bleeding in general, liver damage, kidney problems, fluid retention, swelling, headache, indigestion, upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, sinus inflammation, stomach pain, and nausea. The FDA has recently told doctors to limit prescriptions for Celebrex and Bextra, while encouraging alternative therapy. If a patient is continuing to take either of these drugs, the FDA advises that the lowest effective dose be used. It is easy to overlook the side effects of a drug when it helps you feel better, but exchanging a headache for a heart attack may not be worth it. Luckily, there are natural alternatives for pain relief. Down to Earth can help you find alternatives to be pain relief, so be sure to drop by for a visit and inquire about the natural choices available.