Saturday, October 13, 2007

Vioxx Side Effects

Introduced and approved in May 1999 under the generic name of rofecoxib, Vioxx has been widely prescribed and used as a cox-2 inhibitor to treat osteoarthritis, menstrual cramps and adult pain. This drug was welcomed as a much-needed, unique product that could offer the benefits of a traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug without the associated gastric problems that were part and parcel of other NSAID treatments. The reason that other drugs came with such side effects was that they inhibited cox-1 enzymes as well as cox-2 enzymes. As cox-1 enzymes are essential for protecting the lining of the stomach, the result of this was often massive gastric problems. However, vioxx was able to isolate the cox-2 enzyme without affecting the cox-1, which means that the risk of gastric side effects was vastly reduced.

However, unknown to medical professionals and patients, vioxx side effects were far more serious. It was recently discovered that vioxx could lead to a significant increase in the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients that have been taking the medication for around eighteen months or more. As with all drugs, there are other less serious vioxx side effects as well, but these recent revelations have resulted in vioxx being withdrawn from the market. Since the manufacturer of vioxx, Merck, recalled the drug from the US market in September 2004, allegations have started to circulate, claiming that Merck knew about this potentially fatal vioxx side effects before the drug was even approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), and yet they went ahead and marketed the drug as a safe and reliable one.

Medical professionals have advised that anyone that has been taking Vioxx on a long term basis should seek medical assistance to check for vioxx side effects. Even those that have only been taking the drug on a short term basis may wish to visit their doctor for a check up and further information on the possibility of vioxx side effects. The possibility of severe vioxx side effects is expected to spawn a vast number of surgery visits, as well as a large number of compensation claims and lawsuits. For those that have suffered severe vioxx side effects – particularly if it turns out that the manufacturer knew about these possible effects prior to approval – the payout could exceed six figures.