Pain Drugs

Why was the popular pain reliever pulled from shelves?

The first sign of trouble came last fall when a large trial involving the popular pain-killer Vioxx was halted two months early because some patients had developed serious heart problems. The results were so disturbing that Merck, which manufactures Vioxx, pulled its billion-dollar blockbuster off the market.

That left two drugs in the same family, Pfizer's Celebrex and Bextra, on pharmacy shelves, along with lingering questions about whether they too could cause heart attacks and strokes.

Those concerns were answered last week by a series of studies that showed an increased risk of heart problems in users of not just Vioxx...

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