Known generically as rofecoxib, Vioxx is a cox-2 inhibitor drug manufactured by pharmaceutical giant, Merck. This drug was once prescribed for an array of problems, including osteoarthritis, adult pain management, and menstrual cramps. It was first approved by the Food and Drugs Administration in 1999, and was welcomed by all – the medical profession and patients that were currently suffering through taking standard non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. This was because standard non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs blocked both the cox-1 and cox-2 enzymes within the body. Because the cox-1 enzyme is essential to the well-being of the gastric system, this often caused gastric problems in patients taking these drugs.
Vioxx, on the other hand, was a cox-2 inhibitor, which means that it could isolate the block the cox-2 enzyme without affecting the cox-1, which in turn meant an end to the gastric problems that many had been suffering in the name of pain relief. However, after four years of mass prescribing and billions of dollars in profits for Merck, the truth about Vioxx came to light. This drug could actually cause a whole range of side effects, some of which were not only dangerous but deadly.
Studies had been carried out into Vioxx, as well as other cox-2 inhibitors, and it was discovered that Vioxx could be the cause of an increased risk of heart attack. Research showed that there was a significant increase in the number of heart attacks amongst those taking Vioxx compared to those taking standard NSAIDs. It is thought the risk of heart attack amongst those taking Vioxx could be increased by as much as four hundred percent.
In addition to this, a number of additional side effects are associated with Vioxx, and these include:
Many of the people that were taking Vioxx and suffered serious side effects such as strokes or heart attacks have since filed lawsuits against Merck. To make matters worse for the pharmaceutical company, internal documents and emails have allegedly come to light that prove that Merck knew about the potentially deadly side effects long before the drug was withdrawn from the market in 2004. This lends strength to the legal cases of those that have suffered at the hands of this drug doe to the side effects.
Some people have died as a result of the side effects caused by Vioxx, and the families of these people have also filed lawsuits against Merck for wrongful death. Anyone that has suffered serious side effects about which Merck had made no mention should seek legal advice as soon as possible, as it may be possible to claim compensation for your pain and suffering as well as for medical expenses associated with the problem.
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