Merck Corp. says long-term use of Vioxx increases your risk for heart disease. It's only long-term risk, more than 18 months, that poses a problem, but Merck is pulling its most popular drug anyway.
Local rheumatologist Dr. John Kolstoe says it's a responsibility move, but it doesn't mean patients who use Vioxx should panic. Unless you are at high-risk for heart disease, there is plenty of time to find an alternative medicine. What's more, the alternatives are plentiful. There are prescription drugs on the market, and, Dr. Kolstoe says, don't underestimate substituting some good old-fashioned Tylenol or aspirin until you can find a new medication that works for you.
If you want to get rid of the Vioxx you have at home already, you can do that too. Simply send the medicine in its original package back to Merck. NNC Group; Merck Return; 2670 Executive Drive; Indianapolis, IN, 46241.