There has been a Vioxx recall due to the growing number of heart attacks that have occurred in patients after taking the drug. Vioxx medication has now become a controversial drug that has piqued the worry and interests of many researchers and health care providers. Since its launch in the late 1990s, Vioxx has been an inhibitory drug. Unfortunately, nearly 140,000 heart attacks were linked to Vioxx use in the United States since its release. As a drug rehab in Pennsylvania, we wanted to take a closer look at the link between Vioxx and heart attacks.
What Is Vioxx?
The Vioxx drug, also known as rofecoxib, is an anti-inflammatory drug similar to medications like ibuprofen and naproxen. It’s a prescription drug that’s used to reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness caused by arthritis, migraines, and menstrual pain. Because Vioxx is a COX-2 inhibitor, it works by blocking the COX-2 enzymes, which are present in areas of the body that are inflamed as well as in the release of hormones called prostaglandins, which cause swelling in the joints and pain.
Like other prescription drugs, Vioxx can cause some uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms. While this specific drug is off the market, other similar or generic medications are available that mimic its effects. Common Vioxx side effects include:
- Problems with digestion
- Respiratory infection
- Sinus infection
- Back pains
- Urinary tract infection
- High blood pressure
When prescription drugs are misused, they can negatively impact the brain and heart. The obvious link between Vioxx and heart attacks led to recall. Prescription drugs that are still on the market shouldn’t be taken unless prescribed to you by your doctor. You should also take them as directed. Individuals who do become dependent on prescription drugs should come to Clearbrook Treatment Centers in Pennsylvania and begin their treatment with our medical detox.
How Does Vioxx Affect the Heart?
Because it’s been off the market since 2004, few have heard of it or are aware of the link between Vioxx and heart attacks. Vioxx and heart problems were first connected in a 2000 study by VIGOR. Although this study was originally centered on the effects of Vioxx on stomach ulcers and bleeding, researchers quickly discovered a greater number of heart attacks in patients taking this medication. In their study, they also mentioned that a possible explanation for a higher rate of heart attacks among Vioxx users is that Vioxx is a COX-2 inhibitor, which does not prevent platelet aggregation, or blood clotting. When this process isn’t controlled or is enforced through things like medications, it can block blood flow and cause a heart attack. There’s also a widely held view by researchers that COX-2 inhibitors like Vioxx prevent a hormone from expanding or dilating the arteries when cholesterol builds up, leading to heart attacks and strokes.
While Vioxx is no longer available to the public, there are other similar prescription drugs like Celebrex and Bextra that are just as unsafe. There are plenty of common prescription drugs that are frequently abused. Prescription drug abuse is a growing concern, as is evident in the current opioid epidemic. Whenever you’re prescribed a new medication, be sure to ask your doctor plenty of questions and follow their directions. Do not use more than the recommended dose and do not take them more frequently than directed.
If you or a loved one is battling prescription drug abuse, our rehab center in PA can help. Call us today at 570-536-9621 for more information about our alcohol and drug treatment programs.
- ICL – Research brings new evidence to the 10-year debate on COX-2 pain relief drugs
- NEJM – Comparison of Upper Gastrointestinal Toxicity of Rofecoxib and Naproxen in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis