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Merck Pulls Vioxx Off the Market

In a move that surprised a lot of business people, but not me, Merck has pulled the popular anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx off the market today, citing a study they were conducting that shows patients taking the drug face twice the risk of heart attacks compared to those taking a placebo.

According to a FDA press release, "Although the risk that an individual patient would have a heart attack or stroke related to Vioxx is very small, the study that was halted suggests that, overall, patients taking the drug chronically face twice the risk of a heart attack compared to patients receiving a placebo."

Dr. Lester Crawford, acting FDA commissioner, said his agency will also closely monitor other drugs in this class for similar side effects. "All of the NSAID drugs have risks when taken chronically, especially of gastrointestinal bleeding, but also liver and kidney toxicity. They should only be used continuously under the supervision of a physician."

Not particularly surprising to me, considering FDA released similar findings about a month ago.

This is a good time to remind you that simply changing the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in your diet could serve as a natural anti-inflammatory. I review many controversial topics, but there is no disagreement on this one. Virtually everyone acknowledges that omega-3 fats play a crucial role in arthritis. For guidelines on how to use them, review my comments on an excellent article written by Dr. William Conner.

Senior Journal.com September 30, 2004

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