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Vioxx Lawsuits Abound. Where does This Leave the Arthritis Sufferer?

from: Wendy Owen

Copyright 2005 Wendy Owen

Vioxx, a popular pain medication was fetching it's manufacturer, Merck Pharmaceuticals, millions of dollars in sales in 2004. Today it has been withdrawn from sale and is the subject of several Vioxx lawsuits. It's demise, due to unacceptable risk factors, leaves doctors and patients confused and wondering how many more "time bombs" there are lurking out there

What is Vioxx?

Vioxx is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) mainly prescribed for pain relief for people suffering with various forms of arthritis. The product was launched in 1999 and was available in several countries.

Vioxx is one of the family of COX-2 inhibitors. Drugs with this label block the Cox 2 enzyme while allowing the Cox 1 enzyme intact. The Cox 1 enzyme is necessary as it protects the stomach lining. Without this protection, patients are at risk of ulcers, stomach bleeding and intestinal damage.

The main risks from taking Vioxx are an increased risk (4:1) of heart attack or stroke. While this risks were said only to affect people who have been taking the drug for 18 months or more, there is some evidence that they may also affect short term users as well.

Vioxx lawsuits

There are currently over 7000 vioxx lawsuits, both individual and class action, pending against Merck. The number of lawsuits are growing by the day. To be eligible to claim compensation from Merck, a person must have been taking Vioxx medication and have suffered some ill effects from doing so.

Merck must be shown to have breached their "duty of care" towards their customers and have acted irresponsibly in information them of the health risks that Vioxx could cause. Although Merck pulled Vioxx from the shelves voluntarily in 2004, there is evidence that they knew of risks associated with Vioxx as early as 2000, but didn't pass on any warnings to the public.

If you believe that taking Vioxx has caused you to suffer a heart attack or stroke, it is important to act before the statute of limitations expires. At the time of writing there have not been any successful Vioxx lawsuits. Those who have experienced any lost earnings or mental pain and suffering due to taking Vioxx are also being advised to claim compensation.

What are the alternatives?

There are other COX-2 selective NSAIDS on the market, Celebrex (celecoxib) and Bextra (valdecoxib).These are now undergoing stringent testing by the FDA to ensure they are safe alternatives.

The manufacturers of other NSAIDS such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen have been requested by the FDA to change the labelling on their products to include warnings about any side effects that may be experienced - for example gastro intestinal bleeding.

Natural arthritis pain relief is a safe and effective option. The medical profession is fond of pointing out that natural remedies are not controlled or tested by the FDA. After the Vioxx debacle you have to wonder it this really matters!

About the author:

Wendy Owen is a natural health writer and researcher. visit her site at for arthritis information, articles and a natural arthritis remedy.



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