Recently, there has been a lot of news surrounding the once popular pain medication called Vioxx. Vioxx was commonly prescribed to combat all sorts of pain. These included pain related to injury, arthritis, and post surgical pain and even to relieve migraine headaches. Soon, however, it was found that long-term use of Vioxx could cause a wide array of medical problems including an increased risk of heart failure.
In September 2004, the maker of Vioxx, Merck, voluntarily pulled all forms of Vioxx off the market. Studies showed that patients that took Vioxx longer than 18 months had a much higher risk for heart attack and stroke. There were many questions that came from this action. Many patients were left wondering if they would experience side effects and even more wondered what they would now take in place of Vioxx.
Before Vioxx was pulled from the market, millions of Americans took this prescription drug on a daily basis. It was give to patients that suffered from pain, tenderness and swelling caused by arthritis and to treat problems associated with painful menstrual cycles. Vioxx contains nonsteriod anti-inflammatory medications (also known as NSAIDS) called COX-2 inhibitors. These drugs worked by stopping the production of a substance in the body that cause both inflammation and pain.
Before studies showed that Vioxx could cause stroke or heart attacks, doctors felt Vioxx was safer than other pain medications because it did not cause stomach bleeding and ulcers and other prescription pain medication did. There was some less severe side effect associated with taking Vioxx. These included upset stomach or nausea, stomach pain and a generally feeling of weakness. These side effects were generally less severe when the medication was taken with food and water.
Because Vioxx was pulled from the market, this prescription medication is no longer given to patients. Merck is looking into ways to make Vioxx a safer medication and have been doing numerous studies to pinpoint exactly why Vioxx was showing an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. If you were ever prescribed Vioxx, your doctor can recommend a good substitute to take in its place. In addition, you could look carefully in your medicine cabinets and throw any remaining prescriptions of Vioxx away.
Disclaimer: Cliff Schaffer does not personally endorse or support any of the comments made within the writings of this article.