|BREAKING NEWS:.....ARTHRITIS WONDER DRUG VIOXX NOW BANNED....|
Posted by Vishva News Reporter on October 1, 2004
Questions about Vioxx:
DEATH OF A WONDER DRUG
VIOXX, THE "SUPER ASPIRIN'
is yanked over heart risk & stroke:
ANSWERS YOU NEED TO KNOW
FROM YOUR DOCTOR
Globe & Mail: Friday, October 1, 2004 -
It was nicknamed a "super Aspirin" when it hit the market five years ago,
billed as an early blockbuster of the biotech era, a remarkably safe
anti-inflammatory drug and painkiller bound to be a hit with aging baby
Merck & Co. Inc. first developed Vioxx as a new class of arthritis medication.
But it quickly landed in medicine cabinets as a treatment for everything from
muscle aches to menstrual cramps, with 3.4 million
prescriptions filled in Canada last year, and 84 million people taking it
around the world.
Those numbers now represent the scope of unease as Merck announced yesterday
that it is yanking Vioxx off the market worldwide after discovering, in a new
clinical trial, that the drug increases the risk of
heart attack and stroke.
"For reasons of patient safety, we felt the best course of action was to
withdraw [Vioxx]," said Francois Bertrand, executive director of medical
research at Merck Frosst Canada Inc.
The developments may raise questions about regulations that bring new drugs to
market, further damage faith in the industry and cast doubt on whole classes
of new-generation medications.
"It's kind of a reminder to go back to the basics," said Volodko Bakowsky, a
rheumatologist at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax who had
prescribed Vioxx, whose generic name is rofecoxib.
"This went from headlines of being a super Aspirin, to this [withdrawal]. The
message people are going to get now is that this drug
is a horrendous danger, when they thought
it had the toxicity of water. The truth is probably somewhere in
Please click on the next line to learn about the questions you should ask
your doctor if you are taking or have taken VIOXX.....
Questions about Vioxx:
- If I've been taking Vioxx, do I face a higher
risk of heart problems in the future?
Answer: "The answer to that is almost certainly 'no.' The drug's effects
disappear very quickly," so stopping it should reverse risk, according to Dr.
Alastair Wood, professor of medicine and pharmacology, and associate dean of
Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
- What about children? Some take it for juvenile
No safety problems have been seen in children, according to the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration, but Vioxx is being withdrawn from the market for
Is it safe to stop taking Vioxx suddenly or should people go off the drug
Medical experts advise patients to stop taking Vioxx and consult their doctor
about alternatives. Health Canada said patients should consult their doctors
as to whether they should continue taking their remaining supply of the
- What made Vioxx so good for treating the pain of
Many pain relievers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS,
work against two enzymes, cox-1 and cox-2, which cause inflammation and pain.
Cox-1 is found in the stomach, and drugs that attack it often cause upset
stomachs and ulcers. Vioxx and other so-called cox-2 inhibitors attack just
that enzyme, minimizing stomach side effects.
- Are other cox-2 inhibitors safe?
All drugs of this type can raise blood pressure, but only Vioxx has been
linked to higher risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular
problems, FDA officials say.
Besides arthritis, what else is Vioxx used to treat?
Other chronic pain conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and short-term
needs such as postoperative pain relief and menstrual cramp
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