Oregon Vioxx Lawyer

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If you have a medical condition that significantly impacts your life, such as arthritis, it is likely that you have sought some sort of treatment to alleviate your pain. Most people seek treatments or therapy that will enable them to do the things they would normally do, without being slowed down by their pain.

Doctors prescribe medication that is meant to help patients. People who go to doctors for medication trust that it will help them, not hurt them. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Occasionally, there are drugs that have been released by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that can potentially have serious risks and side effects, including injury or death.

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. Arthritis can be a debilitating condition that limits people's activity and affects their quality of life, depending on the severity of the condition.

Treatment of Arthritis
Arthritis treatment often includes a combination of drugs, rest, physical activity, joint protection, heat or ice, and physical or occupational therapy. Many pharmaceutical manufacturers have sought to develop medications to treat arthritis.

In 1999, Merck & Co., Inc. released a medication that was found to be very effective in reducing the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved the release of Vioxx to treat menstrual cramps, signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and acute pain in adults.

How are Medications Approved?
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 dieing, 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.

What Happened with Vioxx?
In 2005, the Merck company issued a voluntary, worldwide recall of the Vioxx drug. 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 the time of the Vioxx recall, more than 2 million people had been prescribed the drug. This means that there was the potential for thousands of people to be affected by the adverse side effects of Vioxx, possibly suffering from serious, and life-threatening, heart attacks or strokes.

If You Were Affected by Vioxx
If you were prescribed Vioxx to treat your arthritis, or another condition for which Vioxx was approved, and you experienced a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular complication as the result, you may be entitled to compensation. Pharmaceutical manufacturers, even after a drug has been approved by the FDA, are liable for damages suffered as a result of their drugs.

A lawyer who is based in Oregon and is familiar with pharmaceutical litigation, personal injury claims, or wrongful death lawsuits will be able to assist you. He or she will guide you through the legal process and determine if you have a viable claim. In the event that you do, your attorney will help you pursue compensation and restitution from Merck.