Does the popular arthritis pain medication, Vioxx, cause heart attacks and strokes when taken in high doses ?
The groundbreaking study, by a research team from the University of California, Davis and Peking University, China, may pave the way for a safer drug for millions of arthritis patients who suffer acute and chronic pain.
Using metabolomic profiling to analyze murine (rodent) plasma, the scientists discovered that Vioxx causes a dramatic increase in a regulatory lipid that could be a major contributor to the heart attacks and strokes associated with high levels of the drug and other selective COX-2 inhibitors, known as "coxibs."
"Our metabolomics study discovered that 20-hydroxyeicosatetrasanoic acid, also known as 20-HETE, contributes to the Vioxx-mediated cardiovascular events," said UC Davis bioanalytical chemist Jun-Yan Liu, the senior author of the paper and a five-year member of the Bruce Hammock laboratory.
The research will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.