rofecoxib, Vioxx

What is rofecoxib, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Rofecoxib is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to treat pain, particularly the pain of osteoarthritis and menstrual cramps. Prostaglandins are chemicals that are important in promoting inflammation and its signs--pain, fever, swelling and tenderness. Rofecoxib blocks the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase- 2) and thereby reduces the amounts of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation and its accompanying pain, fever, swelling and tenderness also are reduced. Rofecoxib is similar to celecoxib (Celebrex). Both drugs differ from other NSAIDs in that they cause less irritation and ulceration of the stomach and intestine (at least during short-term treatment), and they do not interfere with the clotting of blood.

What brand names are available for rofecoxib?

Vioxx

Is rofecoxib available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No

Do I need a prescription for rofecoxib?

Yes

What are the side effects of rofecoxib?

Although stomach and intestinal ulcers occur with the use of rofecoxib, they occur less frequently than with other NSAIDs in short-term studies. Rofecoxib does not interfere with the function of the platelets in the blood, and, as a result, it does not interfere with blood clotting and promote bleeding like other NSAIDs.

The most common side effects of rofecoxib are headache, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, diarrhea, nausea, heartburn and water retention. Other side effects include insomnia, urinary retention (inability to urinate), heart failure, aggravation of hypertension, chest pain, ringing in the ears, stomach and intestinal ulcers, bleeding, blurred vision, anxiety, weight gain, flu-like symptoms, drowsiness and weakness.

Allergic type reactions can occur with rofecoxib. Persons who have developed allergic reactions (rash, itching, difficulty breathing) from aspirin or other NSAIDs may experience an allergic reaction to rofecoxib and should not use rofecoxib.

Vioxx should be used cautiously in patients with heart disease.

Quick GuideChronic Pain: Causes and Solutions

Chronic Pain: Causes and Solutions
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