Vioxx represents a new generation of arthritis drug known as COX 2 inhibitors. Celebrex (celecoxib) is another COX 2 inhibitor.
The risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, stroke, sudden death and blood clots, is believed by researchers to be more than two times higher in people who used Vioxx (rofecoxib group drugs) than in the traditional, arthritis pain treatment nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which are part of the naproxen group. This was concluded by a study that involved 8,000 patients and compared the COX-2 inhibitor rofecoxib (Vioxx) with the traditional NSAID naproxen.
An additional study found the annual rates of heart attack in Vioxx (rofecoxib) among 48,000 patients was higher than the regular population. In those studies, 0.52% of patients taking an inactive placebo pill had a heart attack each year, while the annual rate of heart attack was 0.74% for patients taking Vioxx-type drugs (rofecoxib group drugs)
The researchers concluded that until more is known, doctors should use caution in prescribing Vioxx to patients with potential heart problems.