Arcoxia: Merck's Newest Pain-Killing Alternative to Vioxx
September 05, 2006
Merck is seeking approval for Arcoxia, the drug designed to be the successor to Merck's withdrawn painkiller Vioxx.
Vioxx was pulled from the market in 2004 after a study found that it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke. More than 11,000 lawsuits have been filed, alleging Merck was aware of the risks of Vioxx earlier and should have warned patients.
Merck has released the result from a study that found no more heart risk from Arcoxia than from diclofenac, also called Voltaren, an older drug commonly used in Europe. The Arcoxia study looked at data from 24,000 patients, and two other clinical trials bring the total number of patients examined to 34,000.However, the trials also held warning signs. Many patients stopped taking Arcoxia because of high blood pressure problems, and those who took Arcoxia may have had a slightly greater chance of developing congestive heart failure than those who did not. Voltaren might also cause some risk of heart disease itself, making the comparison somewhat dubious.