Should Vioxx Users Be Concerned?

The Food and Drug Administration is asking doctors who prescribe the arthritis drug Vioxx, to use caution when prescribing it to patients with heart disease. The FDA says studies indicate Vioxx is linked to high blood pressure and may increase the risk of heart attacks for users. After hearing this news, a Vioxx user for two years--Maurice Finsterwald was concerned, "Should I stay on it or should I get off of it?"

Trinity Clinic Rheumatologist Dr. Luis Vasquez says no. After looking at the studies, he's not concerned about prescribing it to any of his patients. While the new precautions are only for the brand name "Vioxx", the drugs primary competition: Celebrex and Naproxen don't have a precaution. Dr. Vasquez believes the studies were not done fairly, "There were two studies done, one with Vioxx and the other with Celebrex. In the Vioxx studies, the patients were not allowed to take aspirin," he explains. "The one that used Celebrex, the patients were allowed to take aspirin."

Dr. Vasquez says aspirin is taken to thin blood, lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease. He is concerned Vioxx users will panic unnecessarily . While pharmacist Earnest Dews is ready is handle those panicked patients, he intends to ease the Vioxx users, "Only if you have a history of heart disease, then contact your doctor but if not then there's no reason to be alarmed."

Pharmacists' also urge people not to throw their medication out or suddenly stop using it. The best piece of advice: ask you doctor what's best for you. The FDA says the potential for heart disease being linked to Vioxx isn't fully explored, but that it was important enough to warn doctors.