Vioxx Side Effects

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Vioxx was introduced to the market in 1999, Merck & Co.'s brand name version of the drug rofecoxib, and was an instant success. It was prescribed all over the world as a COX-2 inhibitor, as well as a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), used to control pain and symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, acute pain in adults, and menstrual cramps. It was touted as a drug that could effectively treat a variety of pain symptoms without damaging the stomach lining the way many NSAIDs (including aspirin and ibuprofen) can.

Vioxx was connected to a number of side effects, but they were mild ones, common to many medications: nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and heartburn. Additionally, people taking Vioxx may have experienced difficulty or inability to urinate, anxiety, weight gain, flu-like symptoms, weakness, gastrointestinal ulcers, ringing in the ears, chest pain, aggravation of hypertension, and blurred vision.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to many at the time of its release, Vioxx also had side effects that were much more significant than a simple ulcer or damage to the stomach lining. Research emerged soon after the released of the medication showing that Vioxx could also cause heart attacks and strokes in patients who had taken it for 18 months or longer.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) governs over the pharmaceutical drug industry and mandates stringent testing and clinical trials. Unfortunately, regardless of the guidelines imposed on drug companies and testing that is done before drugs are approved and released for use, there are occasions in which serious risks and side effects of a drug go undiscovered. The risks and side effects are not found until the drug has been released to the public and doctors have prescribed the medication to many people, at which point some people suffer serious injury or even death because of problems with the medication.

Testing completed by Merck prior to the release of Vioxx did not report any connections between cardiovascular complications, such as blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes, and Vioxx. However, there were reports made by other research organizations shortly after the release of Vioxx that did make a connection between Vioxx and cardiovascular complications. In 2004, Merck issued a worldwide, voluntary recall of Vioxx because many people had suffered serious complications there were also fatalities in some cases as the result of taking prescribed Vioxx.

At the time that Vioxx was recalled, approximately two million people in the United States were prescribed the medication. Also, at the time of recall, it was estimated that 27,000 people had suffered from serious side effects of Vioxx, including heart attacks and strokes, or had died from taking the medication.

Due to product liability law, manufacturers are accountable for misleading their customers. As a result, many people have taken Merck to court and won compensation for Vioxx-related health problems. Product liability is unique, so it is important that you consult a lawyer who is well-versed about the drug and its effects if you have experienced serious side effects resulting from a prescription to Vioxx. You may be entitled to compensation to recover medical expenses associated with health complications, as well as pain and suffering you may have endured.