An increased risk of heart problems is forcing the maker of Vioxx to stop selling the popular anti-inflammatory drug. Today Merck Pharmaceuticals announced it has voluntarily stopped sales of Vioxx after a three-year study found users had an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Vioxx is used to treat an estimated 2 million patients with arthritis. After $2.5 billion in sales last year, sales decreased 18% recently, due to concerns about the drug's safety.
Here in Lubbock, UMC has discontinued selling it through their out patient pharmacy. "If a patient is currently taking Vioxx they should call their physician and get advice from the physician on what the doctor would like for them to do," says Greg Bruce with University Medical Center.
Bruce adds there are other drugs that can be used as an alternative to Vioxx. For instance, Ibuprofen is widely used for relief of arthritis. Again, he urges that you consult your physician before making any changes.