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Vioxx Information


VIOXX is one of a new class of drugs released in 1999 called COX-2 inhibitors. It is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) often prescribed to relieve acute pain in adults, dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cycles), osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It was marketed as 12.5mg, 25mg, and 50mg tablets and as an oral suspension. VIOXX was one of the fastest-selling new drugs in the world made by Merck & Co. The drug maker estimates that 13 and 24 million patients have been prescribed the drug in the U.S. and worldwide, respectively. The sale of VIOXX in the U.S. exceeded $2.5 billion in 2003.

Unlike the traditional NSAIDs - such as Ibuprofen, Aleve, Naproxen, and Aspirin - VIOXX and the other COX-2 inhibitors selectively block the COX-2 enzyme - which is responsible for triggering pain and inflammation - while leaving the COX-1 enzyme alone. This is important because the COX-1 enzyme is essential in the protection of the stomach lining, and blocking it could lead to ulcers, bleeding, and gastrointestinal damage. Therefore, VIOXX and the other COX-2 inhibitors were generally promoted as being safer and better pain relievers than the traditional NSAIDs.

The initial studies showed that VIOXX users were 50% less likely to develop ulcers and gastrointestinal problems associated with the drug when compared to the traditional NSAIDs. This led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve VIOXX in May 1999, through its expedited review process. However, a later study, VIGOR (VIOXX GI Outcomes Research) revealed that although VIOXX reduced the chances of ulcers and gastrointestinal problems, it also increased the chances of heart attacks by its users. This prompted the FDA to require this new side effect to be included in the drug's labeling as of April 2002.

However, on September 30, 2004 Merck & Co. announced its voluntary withdrawal of VIOXX from all markets worldwide. The decision to withdraw VIOXX was based on data from a recent study, Adenomatous Polyp Prevention on VIOXX (APPROVe). Although the purpose of the trial was to see if VIOXX (25mg) was effective in preventing the reappearance of colon polyps in patients, the trial had to be stopped early because the data showed a four-fold increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in the VIOXX users.

Vioxx has been associated with several serious and often life threatening side effects, such as:

* Heart Attack
* Stroke
* Blood Clots
* Angina
* Ulcers/Bleeding
* Nonbacterial Meningitis
* Severe Intestinal Damage
* Kidney Damage
* Heartburn
* Nausea
* Diarrhea
* Upper respiratory tract infection
* High blood pressure
* Swelling of the lower extremities
* Fluid retention

If you or a loved one have taken Vioxx and experienced any of the life threatening side effects listed above you may be entitled to a MONEY SETTLEMENT from the drug companies responsible for your injury.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vioxx

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