Stepping into the Vioxx void

(Reviewed/revised April 2005)

Answers to four questions after the popular pain reliever was yanked off the market.

In September 2004, Merck announced that it was pulling rofecoxib (Vioxx) off the market. The decision came after an interim analysis of a colon polyp prevention trial showed that twice as many people taking the drug had a heart attack or stroke as those taking a placebo.

1. What should I do with my old Vioxx?

The risk of a cardiovascular problem is small. Even so, the safest course is to stop taking Vioxx immediately. There's no reason to taper the dose. Merck has agreed to give refunds for unused Vioxx, so hang on to pharmacy receipts. For more details about how to get a refund, call 800-805-9542 (toll free).

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