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A. Managing Arthritis in High-Risk Patients Safely and Cheaply

Narrator:        This is Science Today. There's been a lot of controversy about the best ways to treat patients with arthritis - especially those who are at high risk of developing complications such as ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems. In the past, these patients were treated with Cox-2 inhibitors, such as Vioxx - a drug that the FDA recently took off the market due to its link to cardiovascular complications. But a new UCLA study, led by Dr. Brennan Spiegel, has found a safer and cheaper alternative.

Spiegel:        What we're realizing now is that the answer was under our nose for years and it was actually to take medications like Ibuprofen and Naproxen, and just combine them with another readily available medicine, the proton pump inhibitor, which is now available over the counter. 423 That combination it turns out, is not only safer and not only more effective, but also less expensive than using a Cox-2 inhibitor.

Narrator:        Proton pump inhibitors are acid-reducing drugs. For the first time, Speigel compared therapies head-to-head using a sophisticated computer analysis. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.