Military will switch Vioxx
Stars and Stripes October 3, 2004
DARMSTADT, Germany — Army medical officials said military pharmacies will make every effort to accommodate patients who want to immediately discontinue using Vioxx after the pain-relief medication was recalled last week.
An estimated 1,200 patients in the European military pharmacy database currently may be taking Vioxx, which also is known as rofecoxib. Those patients will be switched to a different medication as determined by their health care providers, officials said in a news release.
Merck & Co., the makers of Vioxx, issued the worldwide recall Thursday after new data from a clinical trial found an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in some patients.
Military treatment facility patients will be immediately contacted by mail with advice to discontinue their medication and to contact their provider for a new prescription, according to a release issued by the Europe Regional Medical Command.
However, the release advises that patients should not wait to be contacted by mail and to contact their health care providers directly.
The FDA noted that while the risk of an individual suffering a heart attack or stroke related to the drug is very small, the study suggests that patients taking Vioxx chronically are at about twice the risk of confirmed cardiovascular events beginning after 18 months of treatment in patients taking 25 miligrams of Vioxx daily versus a placebo.
The study was being done in patients at risk of developing recurrent colon polyps, according to the news release.
The FDA approved Vioxx in 1999 for the reduction of pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis as well as acute pain in adults and for the treatment of menstrual pain.
Call medical treatment centers directly to change pain medication.
For more information on Vioxx go to www.merck.com or www.fda.gov/cder/drug/infopage/vioxx/default.htm.