Missouri Vioxx Lawyer

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What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is medical condition that affects millions of Americans. Osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis, is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage in joints. As cartilage, which cushions the ends of bones and allows for easy movement of the joints, breaks down, the bones rub against each other. This can cause stiffness, pain, and loss of movement in the joint.

What Causes Arthritis and How is It Treated?
Arthritis may be caused by a variety of factors. Causes linked to the development of arthritis include heredity, being overweight, joint injury, overuse of certain joints, physical inactivity, nerve injury, and aging. There are a variety of means by which arthritis is treated, from physical and occupational therapy, to the use of heat or ice packs, weight loss, physical activity, and medication, or a combination of these elements.

What is Vioxx?
Vioxx is a medication that is included in a class (COX-2) of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The medication was designed to treat the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis. It was also approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, acute pain, and pain and cramping associated with menstruation. Merck & Co, Inc. manufactured the drug and released it for worldwide distribution in 1999.

Common side effects and risks typically associated with NSAIDs have been the development of stomach ulcers and bleeding in patients taking them. These side effects can be serious, especially if not treated. The benefit of Vioxx, which Merck widely advertised and marketed, was that it did not cause stomach ulcers and bleeding.

However, while Vioxx was not linked to stomach ulcers and bleeding, there were very serious side effects and risks discovered in association with Vioxx. In post-release clinical trials of Vioxx it was discovered that the drug presented an increased risk of serious cardiovascular complications, including heart attacks and strokes. Although there were reports of this discovery being made as early as 2000, it was not until 2004 that the Merck company issued a voluntary worldwide recall of Vioxx.

How does this happen?
To release a medication for distribution and use, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company must perform a wide range of tests on the medicine before release. Tests are done and clinical trials are run to discover the potential side effects of the drug, as well as to measure the benefits of the drug. The FDA holds manufacturers to high standards. Unfortunately, all potential side effects and issues associated with a medication may not arise during the mandatory testing phases and clinical trials. There are times when, post-release of a drug, adverse and potentially serious affects arise. These may occur during follow-up clinical trials, or as the result of patients becoming seriously ill, or even dying, as the result of a medication. In such instances, the pharmaceutical company and the FDA will typically review the causes and conditions, potentially recalling the drug.

This is what happened in 2004 with the Merck company. Prior to the release of Vioxx, the clinical trials of the drug did not show side effects associated with cardiovascular complications, including heart attacks and strokes. However, upon release of the drug, wide distribution, and follow-up clinical trials, the company discovered that there was indeed a link between Vioxx and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in patients taking the medication, at which point Merck issued the recall of the drug.

What do you do if you were affected by Vioxx?
At the time the Vioxx recall was issued, over 2 million people had been prescribed the medication. When the recall was announced, many lawsuits were filed against the Merck company, from individual lawsuits to class action cases, seeking compensation for medical expenses, as well as pain, suffering, and mental anguish in conjunction with the serious affects of Vioxx.

If you or someone you love was the victim of adverse side effects, such as a heart attack or stroke, in connection with the use of Vioxx, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak with a Missouri based lawyer who is familiar with pharmaceutical litigation and personal injury claims. An attorney who is familiar with Missouri laws regarding statutes of limitations, personal injury claims, and wrongful death suits will be able to guide you through the legal process and help you get compensation for your injury or loss.