May 2, 2006
Vioxx risks can occur within 2 weeks-Canada study
TORONTO -- The risk of taking the painkiller Vioxx is more acute than previously thought according to research published online on Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
A quarter of patients who suffered a heart attack did so within the first two weeks of taking their first Vioxx prescription, a McGill University Health Center study revealed.
Merck & Co. Inc. pulled the $2.5 billion-a-year drug from the market in September 2004 after a study showed Vioxx doubled heart attack and stroke risk for patients who took it 18 months or more.
A Texas jury found last month that the painkiller caused the death of a 71-year-old man who had taken the drug for less than a month, and awarded his family damages of $32 million.
Merck faces about 10,000 Vioxx related lawsuits.
The Canadian study assessed the pattern of cardiovascular risk in seniors over a three-year period in order to establish the timing of the Vioxx risk.