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Amid recent claims that a new class of drugs called COX-2 inhibitors (which includes naproxen, marketed and sold as Aleve) may cause strokes and heart attacks, researchers are grappling with a new study and its implications.

In a study that included 2,500 elderly volunteers that were given Celebrex, naproxen or a placebo, 8.25 percent of naproxen recipients had a significant cardiovascular incident compared with 5.5 percent of those that received Celebrex and 5.6 percent that took the placebo. The study was not completed because of safety concerns over the COX-2 inhibitors.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has mandated strict and explicit labeling on non-steriodal anti-inflammatory painkillers because of previous studies that indicated these drugs might increase heart risks.

Although researchers are in conflict over how much credence should be given to this new study, Barbara Martin of the John Hopkins University School of Public Health worked on this study and observed, “We firmly believe that results from trials should be published regardless of the direction, magnitude, or statistical significance of the observed results.”

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