Vioxx, also known as Rofecoxib, is a selective cox-2 inhibitor used to treat pain associated with arthritis. Physicians may also prescribe Vioxx, available in tablet and liquid form, to relieve minor pain, headaches and menstrual discomfort. Approved by the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 1999, Vioxx is made by Merck & Co.
Minor side effects of Vioxx use include, but may not be limited to, upset stomach, dizziness, heartburn, vomiting and constipation. Numerous studies, including one sponsored by the drug's manufacturer, have found that Vioxx may increase a patient's risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or blood clot.
A March 2002 FDA report linked Vioxx to five cases of a nonbacterial type of meningitis. According to the FDA, several patients developed aseptic meningitis while using the arthritis drug.
In May 2002, a report published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research revealed that inhibiting cox-2 may also impede bone repair. Cox-2 reportedly assists bone-forming stem cells in the healing process.