Also Known As: Rofecoxib, Vioxx
Rofecoxib is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has now been withdrawn over safety concerns. It was marketed by Merck & Co. to treat osteoarthritis, acute pain conditions, and dysmenorrhoea. Rofecoxib was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 20, 1999, and was marketed under the brand names Vioxx, Ceoxx, and Ceeoxx.
Rofecoxib gained widespread acceptance among physicians treating patients with arthritis and other conditions causing chronic or acute pain. Worldwide, over 80 million people were prescribed rofecoxib at some time.
On September 30, 2004, Merck voluntarily withdrew rofecoxib from the market because of concerns about increased risk of heart attack and stroke associated with long-term, high-dosage use. Merck withdrew the drug after disclosures that it withheld information about rofecoxib's risks from doctors and patients for over five years, resulting in between 88,000 and 140,000 cases of serious heart disease. Rofecoxib was one of the most widely used drugs ever to be withdrawn from the market. In the year before withdrawal, Merck had sales revenue of US$2.5 billion from Vioxx.
Rofecoxib was available on prescription as tablets and as an oral suspension. It was available by injection for hospital use.