WMU News

Sindecuse responds to withdrawal of VIOXX

Oct. 1, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Sindecuse Health Center at Western Michigan University has moved quickly to help users of the arthritis and acute pain medication VIOXX get more information about the drug's recent withdrawal from the market.

Bill Green, chief pharmacist at Sindecuse, notes that on Thursday, Sept. 30, Merck & Co. announced the voluntary worldwide withdrawal of VIOXX, effective immediately.

Merck announced the move after the data safety monitoring board overseeing a long-term study of the drug recommended that the study be halted because of an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events among study patients taking VIOXX compared to patients receiving a placebo.

"Patients have been advised to consult their clinicians on how continue their therapy," Green says. "In the meantime, they may visit the Sindecuse Web site to learn more about the drug withdrawal or may call the Sindecuse Health Center pharmacy if they immediate questions or concerns."

The health center's Web site, <www.sindecuse.com>, offers quick links to the Sept. 30 Merck announcement, Merck's VIOXX home page, and a PDF file that explains how patients may be reimbursed for unused VIOXX prescriptions.

Regarding the withdrawal, acting FDA commissioner Lester M. Crawford has said, "Although the risk that an individual patient would have a heart attack or stroke related to VIOXX is very small, the study that was halted suggests that, overall, patients taking the drug chronically face twice the risk of a heart attack compared to patients receiving a placebo."

The Sindecuse pharmacy may be reached at (269) 387-3301.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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