The prescription painkiller Vioxx was taken off of the market by Merck in 2004, after studies linked the drug to a doubled risk of cardiovascular events and death. A recent analysis of data from that study shows that the risk continued for at least one year after patients stopped taking Vioxx. Another issue raised by this analysis was how soon the risk started after beginning to use Vioxx. The original study was meant to show that Vioxx could prevent recurrence of colon cancer. However, the study, known as APPROVe, was halted early by Merck when the increased risk of heart attack and stroke became apparent. The recent analysis of data from the APPROVe study was funded by Merck and conducted by six scientists who worked on APPROVe. The anaylsis will be published in the British medical journal The Lancet. Merck continues to vigorously fight tens of thousands of lawsuits brought by people injured from using Vioxx.
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