Vioxx, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication, was prescribed for just five years before its manufacturer, Merck & Co., issued a worldwide voluntary recall. One of the most widely used drugs, Vioxx was prescribed to children and adults to manage symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, women to ease their menstrual cramps, and a variety of other people to alleviate swelling and acute pain.
Vioxx fell under the NSAID subclass of Cox-2 inhibitors, was thus touted as gentler on the stomach than other NSAID medications. Unfortunately, initial studies also suggested Vioxx use significantly increased a patient’s chance for sudden cardiac arrest. Closer scrutiny of the drug ensued, and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) determined the drug’s benefits outweighed its risks. The FDA did mandate additional warnings on the drug’s labeling. However, no recall was issued, and another study was begun to assess the ability of Vioxx to prevent recurring colon polyps. Vioxx did show promise in the prevention of these pre-cancerous growths, but more frightening evidence caused Merck to suddenly halt the study and yank the drug from pharmacies worldwide. Compared to patients receiving a placebo, long-term Vioxx users had exactly double the chance of suffering a cardiovascular event, such as heart attack, stroke, or blood clot. Patients worldwide are concerned, and stunned that in the wake of the early evidence of its danger, Vioxx was promoted for several more years. Please contact our law firm to have one of our attorneys review your case.