Jan 29, 2015
No More Vioxx

Sports medicine professionals have recently lost one of their newest options in pain medications. In October, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx® was pulled from the market by its manufacturer, Merck.

The prescription-only drug (generic name rofecoxib) was recalled after a three-year study showed an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and stroke, after 18 months of use, according to Merck. The study was conducted to discover if Vioxx could prevent the recurrence of colon polyps that sometimes turn cancerous, but it was halted when the increased risk of heart problems was discovered.

Vioxx, which had worldwide sales of $3.5 billion in 2003, was best known for treating arthritis pain, but was also commonly used with athletes as an anti-inflammatory. Vioxx is one of several second-generation NSAIDs known as COX-2 inhibitors that were expected to produce fewer side effects than first-generation NSAIDs, which can cause gastrointestinal problems.

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