Vioxx risks

Just when I thought the whole Vioxx situation couldn’t possibly get any worse

Last week, National Public Radio (NPR) obtained a 107-page report regarding a four-year study of Vioxx users. The confidential report was prepared for the FDA by Merck, the company that manufactured Vioxx before taking it off the market in 2004.

According to experts who reviewed the report for NPR, Vioxx users were put at higher risk of heart attack and stroke shortly after they began using the drug. Previous studies had indicated that those risks only occurred after many months of use.

In addition, the NPR experts claim that Vioxx risks may have continued for a year or more after patients stopped using the drug.

Merck reps disputed the conclusions of the NPR experts. But according to Reuters, a McGill University review of Vioxx user data over a period of three years shows that among Vioxx users who had a heart attack, 25 percent suffered their attack within the first two weeks of medication.

Sources:
“Vioxx Risks Began Earlier than Thought, Study Says” Joe Raedle, NPR, 5/18/06, npr.org
“Vioxx Risk Seen with Short-Term Use – Report” Reuters, 5/17/06, today.reuters.com