Canadian Study Shows Short-Term Vioxx Toxicity

Expect to see the number of Vioxx lawsuits to climb even higher with the results of a Canadian Medical Association Journal study (free PDF report below) that found patients suffered their greatest risk of a heart attack after taking the lethal COX-2 inhibitor for the short term.

Researchers studied the medical records of some 4,000 patients over age 65 who took Vioxx and nearly 6,000 patients taking Celebrex. Of the 239 patients who suffered from a heart attack, 25 percent of them occurred "within a few weeks of receiving their first prescription," according to the study.

No surprise, Merck attorneys blasted the study, arguing an examination of existing patient records were far less reliable than the company's own clinical trials, while ignoring recent news about a 2000 Vioxx study in which the true results had been doctored.

An interesting factoid: More patients taking Celebrex suffered a heart attack (287) in the study than from Vioxx, but researchers believed there was no evidence of increased risk.

Makes you wonder if Merck's strategy in handling the more than 11,500 lawsuits already filed -- battling them one at a time -- will change very soon.

Yahoo News May 3, 2006

CNN Money.com May 3, 2006

Canadian Medical Association Journal May 3, 2006 Free Full PDF Report

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