Vioxx and Diclofenac: Why Are Two Heart Risky Pain Drugs Viewed Differently?
More than a decade ago, Merck launched Vioxx (rofecoxib), one of the first of a new class of pain relievers known as COX-2 inhibitors. These compounds, by virtue of their mode of action, were deemed to be as potent arthritis pain relievers as traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen, but were believed to be safer than NSAIDs since they caused less gastrointestinal distress. Vioxx was an immediate success with physicians and patients. New prescriptions for Vioxx soared.