Welcome to the Vioxx page of Attorneys Trial Group, a statewide litigation firm committed to protecting the safety of Florida’s families. Since 1988, our firm has recovered hundreds of millions in verdicts and settlements for our clients, in cases ranging from pharmaceutical negligence to wrongful death. These verdicts and settlements have been among the highest in Central Florida.
On September 30, 2004, drug maker Merck & Co. abruptly pulled its blockbuster arthritis drug Vioxx off the market because a clinical trial found that the drug increased the risk of heart events among users. The three-year colon cancer clinical trial revealed that people taking a low dose of Vioxx for more than 18 months were twice as likely to have a heart attack or strokeas those taking a placebo.
The Vioxx withdrawal was one of the largest of such moves in the history of the drug industry, and has raised questions about whether Merck failed to inform public health authorities of the drug’s heart risks and other serious side effects.
Vioxx was approved in June 1999, and is a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It belongs to a class of drugs commonly referred to as COX-2 inhibitors, and works by blocking COX-2 enzymes in the body that trigger pain and inflammation. Vioxx comes in either liquid or pill form, and is prescribed to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. It can also be used to treat acute pain in adults such as those patients who experience severe pain associated with menstruation.
Since its approval, more than 20 million Americans have taken the drug at one time or another. In September 2001, the FDA sent Merck an eight-page warning letter about the company’s promotional campaign for Vioxx, which minimized “the potentially serious cardiovascular findings that were observed” in a trial that compared the drug to naproxen, a less-expensive painkiller. The FDA (FDA Report) charged that Merck discounted the fact that “patients on Vioxx were observed to have a four to five-fold increase” in heart attacks, compared with patients on naproxen.
Before it removed Vioxx from the market, Merck had consistently denied any possible links between Vioxx and cardiovascular problems.
In addition to heart problems, Vioxx is more likely to cause severe intestinal damage, ulcerations and bleeding, blood clots and toxic epidermal necrolysis (a fatal skin disease), than other arthritis pain relievers. Other health problems include:
- Serious kidney problems that could lead to acute kidney failure.
- Serious liver problems.
- Allergic reactions, such as swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat which can cause difficulty breathing or swallowing.
- The FDA reports that Vioxx has also been linked to at least five cases of a non-bacterial type of meningitis, a rare but serious side effect.
Possible alternative medications to Vioxx include older medications like ibuprofen, naproxen or simply aspirin.
If you have experienced any of the above listed side effects when taking Vioxx, contact an attorney immediately. At Martinez, Manglardi, & , we are on your side, and can help you make informed decisions about your claim. We offer free consultations in your home, at the hospital or in our offices. There are no fees or costs unless we win. Contact us today in Orlando at (407) 381-4123, or in Kissimmee, (407) 846-2240.
If you or a loved one have suffered from the dangerous side effects of Vioxx, you should consider receiving a free legal evaluation from an experienced Vioxx lawyer. For a free evaluation of your situation please complete the following form and a Vioxx attorney will contact you promptly.