A popular medication has been taken off the shelves of pharmacies and patients' cabinets. A new research shows it can cause stroke. Is Vioxx supposed to strike fear in us, consumers? Does it make use think about all the popular medications that are advertised in all media outlets these days? Will consumers have to suffer latent consequences in the future? Just name a few popular ones (they currently have no recalls on them): Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, Zoloft, Tegretol, Lipitor, Zestril etc. How can we cover ourselves? Read the following report submitted by a pharmacist. More than ever before, we buy medications online through names such as CanadaPharmacy.com, CanadianPharmacy.com, Prescriptionsonline, etc.
The manufacturer of Vioxx has taken the drug off the market because of new evidence that it can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The chance that an individual will suffer a heart attack or stroke related to Vioxx is very small. The studies do not show an increased risk until after taking Vioxx regularly for over 18 months. Millions of doses of Vioxx have been taken over the last several years and the vast majority of these patients have not suffered any of these problems. Any increased risk is likely to go away very quickly after stopping Vioxx. People who have stopped taking Vioxx should not have lingering concerns.
Pharmacists will no longer fill any prescription for Vioxx. People taking Vioxx should contact their prescriber to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and any appropriate alternative treatment. Vioxx is a prescription medicine used to relieve signs and symptoms of arthritis, acute pain, and painful menstrual cycles.
There are other drugs that can be used instead. Vioxx is called a COX-2 selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Other COX-2 selective NSAIDs on the market are Celebrex (celecoxib) and Bextra (valdecoxib). Vioxx is also related to the nonselective NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Nobody knows for sure if the drugs that are similar to Vioxx can cause the same problems, but the news about Vioxx should not cause patients on these other drugs to make any change right now. Some people who have an allergy to sulfa drugs need to be careful about switching to another drug.
The biggest concern with all these drugs is stomach bleeding and also liver and kidney toxicity. If you need to use these drugs for longer than two weeks, you should be under professional care.
The problem related to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes was confirmed while Merck was testing to see if their product, Vioxx, was effective for some different use. They were trying to see if it helped prevent the recurrence of colon polyps, which can proceed to cancer. This trial was called the APPROVe (Adenomatous Polyp Prevention on Vioxx) trial. During this trial researchers saw the increased risk of serious cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and strokes, after 18 months of continuous treatment with Vioxx.
If you think you or anyone you may know have had an adverse effect caused by Vioxx you can report it to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch (click on "How to Report") or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
You can also get more information from Merck at www.merck.com and www.Vioxx.com or 1-888-368-4699. To find out more about Vioxx from the FDA click on www.fda.gov.cder or call 1-888-463-6332.
Keep in mind that all drugs can have some side effects, but they can be very beneficial and sometimes life-saving when used properly. Always discuss any medications or other products you are taking with your pharmacist and prescriber.