Vioxx may trigger heart attacks within days
The controversial painkiller Vioxx (rofecoxib) may cause heart attacks within just two weeks of starting the drug treatment, a study of Canadian patients claims.
The finding could influence the outcome of the many thousands of lawsuits filed against Vioxx manufacturer Merck, because it suggests that the once-popular arthritis drug could have contributed to a heart attack or stroke even among patients who took it for very brief periods.
Vioxx was pulled from the market in 2004 after a large clinical trial showed that taking the drug for 18 months nearly doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke1. There has been intense medical and legal debate about whether these problems actually kick in much earlier.
Linda Lévesque of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and her colleagues tackled this question by scouring the computerized health records of 125,000 Quebec residents aged 66 or older. They identified people who had taken Vioxx and the related drug Celebrex (celecoxib), and examined the frequency and time at which these people suffered heart attacks.
This post originally appears here: https://www.nature.com/news/2006/060501/full/news060501-4.html
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