VIOXX (Rofecoxib) is a COX-2 inhibiting drug developed to reduce pain without the gastrointestinal side effects of traditional NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammation Drugs). VIOXX is used to treat osteoarthritis (joint inflammation) and primary dysmenorrhea (severe menstrual pain).
COX-2 inhibitors are designed primarily to block the COX-2 enzyme from producing an inflammatory response. Traditional NSAIDs decrease the production of prostaglandins (chemical messengers) from COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes equally. Problems occur with patients suffering side effects from continual usage of traditional NSAIDs, most notably stomach irritation, ulcer, and intestinal bleeding. COX-2 inhibitors alleviate the pain and swelling associated with inflammation, while reducing the stomach and intestinal side effects.
VIOXX Strokes, VIOXX Heart Attacks
Aside from reducing the incidence of gastric ulceration, VIOXX increases the risk of cardiovascular side effects with long-term usage. Studies concluded that continual usage of VIOXX increases the risk of a heart attack and stroke in patients susceptible to heart disease. Same studies indicated patients with no history of heart disease are at twice the risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke by usage of VIOXX.
The drug manufacturer of VIOXX, Merck & Co., announced a voluntary withdrawal from the worldwide market in 2004 due to an internal study concluded that VIOXX causes significant cardiovascular side effects in users.
Prostaglandins are chemical messengers produced by cyclooxygenase or COX enzyme (a protein that triggers changes in the body) to promote inflammation and pain as the body's defense against infection. There are two types of COX enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2. Both enzymes promote inflammation and pain. In addition to its inflammatory response, COX-1 protects the stomach lining from digestive acids and helps to maintain kidney functions. COX-2 enzymes are important for maintenance of the cardiovascular system. VIOXX impedes the production of prostaglandins by the COX-2 enzymes.
Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis that begins with the breakdown of joint cartilage. The cartilage acts as a cushion inside the joint. Over time, the protection of the bone decreases as the cartilage wears down. The patient experiences pain while walking, standing, and gripping. It is common in the joints of fingers, knees, and hips. The cause of osteoarthritis is typically associated with direct injury or unusual stress to the joints.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis are intermittent to steady joint pain, stiffness after periods of inactivity, and crackling noise when the affected joint is moved. It is not uncommon for the ends of bones to thicken and joints to lose their normal shape, as the disease progresses. The goal of VIOXX treatments is to decrease stiffness and improve mobility in osteoarthritis sufferers.
VIOXX - Stevens Johnson Syndrome
Another potential side effect of VIOXX is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, an inflammatory disorder to the skin. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a disease that can be brought on by a severe allergic reaction to drugs, including prescribed NSAIDs pain relievers. It begins as rash on the sufferer and rapidly develops into blisters and lesions resembling second-degree burns. Over time, SJS can progress into serious skin scarring and potentially death. SJS spreads throughout the body via the skin or mucus membranes. The SJS reaction may be controlled in less than a month, but its effects can last a lifetime. Survivors are usually debilitated and disfigured; therefore, treatment is focused on managing the symptoms.
Contact a Defective Drug Lawyer
If you wish to seek legal action for a Vioxx side effect, contact the defective drug lawyers of AWKO Law today.