Vioxx Recall Worries Local Patients, Doctors Give Advice

Doctors' offices in Tyler have been busy all day taking calls from patients wondering what to do about their Vioxx.

Dr. Steven Cohen of Trinity Clinic says he's angry at the drug maker. He says Merck should have notified physicians before making the sudden announcement to the public and causing all the concern.

So, doctors are giving all Vioxx users one important message.

"I think that every patient who is on the medication should absolutely stop immediately," Dr. Cohen, a rheumatologist, said. "There is no reason to stay on the medication because it is not used for life-threatening medical illnesses."

Dr. Cohen and fellow rhematologists are urging patients to contact their doctor to find an alternative medicine to take.

"There's not just one medicine that we would switch all patients to," Dr. Cohen said. "I think it depends on the individual patient, their other medical conditions, and their disease processes, to decide what the best alternative for that patient is."

Good's Pharmacy in Tyler is taking Vioxx off its shelves.

Customer Leo Haskett took his 87-year-old wife off the drug, after hearing about the risks of heart attack and stroke. She had already had one stroke prior to starting the medicine, so her risk was even higher.

"It scared me, so I quit giving it to her," Haskett said. "I've been giving her Tylenol and stuff instead of Vioxx."

Rose Marie Duck, 86, has just one thing to say about today's recall: "What a cruddy thing to have happen to the medication you're taking."

One piece of good news though: Doctors say, if you stop taking Vioxx now, it's unlikely you'll suffer negative effects from it.

If you have any unused Vioxx, you can mail the bottles and the receipts back to Merck to get a refund on the drug. According to the company's website, Merck will also reimburse you for shipping costs.

Julie Tam, reporting.