Friday, November 16, 2007

Vioxx Settlement

A Vioxx settlement is the repayment from a civil suit against the makers of Vioxx, Merck for damages from this defective drug. A Vioxx settlement can include compensation for expenses related to a Vioxx injury, loss of income or earnings, and pain and suffering. A Vioxx settlement can be given through an individual or class action lawsuit.

There are currently a number of Vioxx lawsuits that seek to compensate victims who have suffered serious Vioxx injury through a Vioxx settlement. For victims whose Vioxx injury has resulted in death, a Vioxx settlement might be awarded to the families or other beneficiaries in a wrongful death lawsuit. A Vioxx settlement can compensate a victim who has suffered a serious heart problem or stroke as a result of taking this pain medication.

Vioxx is a prescription medication that was approved by the FDA in May 1999 to treat the severe pain associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, primary dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramping), and other chronic conditions. Since the drug's debut on the US market, there have always been concerns about Vioxx safety. Vioxx, and its COX-2 selective cohorts, were originally developed as an alternative to other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications. These drugs had serious gastrointestinal side effects associated with their use. Vioxx was purported to have less gastrointestinal side effects than other NSAIDs such as naproxen.

A series of studies was conducted in order to measure the effects of Vioxx on various functions in the body. The VIGOR test was designed to test the gastrointestinal safety of Vioxx use. While fewer gastrointestinal side effects were associated with Vioxx use, the drug's makers did acknowledge that "significantly fewer thromboembolic events (heart attacks and strokes) were observed in naproxen patients." This statement was issued in March of 2000, but it was not until 2004 that the full weight of these risks was revealed.

On September 30, 2004, Merck voluntarily pulled Vioxx off the market after internal studies found that patients taking Vioxx were at a much higher risk of suffering stroke or heart problems than were patients who were not taking this pain medication. This clinical trial was originally designed to test the effects of Vioxx use on the colon. The study was cut short after patients who were taking Vioxx for more than eighteen months experienced heart attacks or stroke at twice the rate of patients in the control group.

While this drug has been recalled and is no longer available for use, there are many patients who may have already suffered the serious side effects- including heart problems and stroke- associated with Vioxx use. Victims who have been injured as a result of taking Vioxx may be eligible to seek compensation for their losses through a Vioxx settlement.