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Lindsay Bauer
Lindsay Bauer
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Merck's Vioxx successor being reviewed by FDA

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Merck has created a successor to its now defunct drug Vioxx. The new nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is called Arcoxia. Like Vioxx, Arcoxia is a Cox-2 inhibitor and was developed to treat osteoarthritis, but be gentler on the stomach then other drugs.

On Tuesday, April 10, 2007 FDA advisers discussed the safety of Arcoxia as they attempted to determine if the new drug should be approved for sale in the US. Merck concludes that after a study of nearly 35,000 people, Arcoxia’s cardiovascular risk is comparable to an older NSAID called diclofenac. Critics claim that diclofenac raises heart risks. Merck disputes that.

The FDA’s decision on Arcoxia is expected by Merck by the end of April.