Based on findings of a recent study researchers say the arthritis drug rofecoxib (Vioxx) is found to increase the risk of heart attack. For the study researchers looked at health records of about 114,000 elderly people who had never had a heart attack when the research started. About 70 percent of the group had a history of taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Compared to those who took aspirin, naproxen, meloxicam, and the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib (Celebrex), people who took Vioxx were significantly more likely to experience a heart attack. The effect was more pronounced as the dose of Vioxx increased.
Researchers also found no increased risk of heart attack among individuals who used Vioxx in the year prior to the study but discontinued use. The use of aspirin along with low-dose Vioxx seemed to mitigate the heart attack risk. However, the study did find it only took a few Vioxx prescriptions to raise the risk. For people who had a heart attack, the average number of prescriptions dispensed was about five.
Though the study found no increased risk of heart attack among patients taking any other form of NSAIDs, researchers call for more study in the field based on their findings .