Lawyers fighting Merck in Vioxx litigation now have proof that the drug is risky even if taken for less than 18 months. The Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study that found seniors who took Vioxx faced the highest risk of heart attack during the first two weeks on the drug.
The Canadian study consisted of 9,832 patients over age 65 who took Vioxx and a similar drug, Pfizer’s Celebrex, which is still on the market. Of the 3,947 patients who were given Vioxx, 239 had heart attacks. Among the 239 patients that had a heart attack, 65 were new users who only filled one prescription. The highest risk occurred between six and 13 days after their initial exposure to Vioxx. Heart attack risk did not rise with continued use.
In the same study, 5,885 people were given Celebrex. There was a slightly higher risk of heart attack in the first few weeks, but it was not “statistically significant,” according to the study’s lead author.
In response to the Canadian study, Merck’s counsel will continue using their 18 months or longer strategy.
For more information about Vioxx, visit our Vioxx Legal Center.