Merck Reports Risk of Its New Pain Pill


Sep 29, 2005
April 11, 2007

Merck Reports Risk of Its New Pain Pill

WASHINGTON, April 10 — A study by Merck of its pain reliever Arcoxia showed similar risks of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems compared with another painkiller, diclofenac, federal reviewers said in an analysis made public Tuesday.

Diclofenac, sold under names including Voltaren and Voltarol, is considered by some cardiologists to be among the most dangerous of standard arthritis treatments in terms of heart safety.

The Food and Drug Administration staff summary also noted that Arcoxia patients quit the study at a higher rate because of complications related to high blood pressure.

Arcoxia is Merck’s successor to Vioxx pill, which was withdrawn. Arcoxia is sold in 63 countries, and Merck is seeking F.D.A. approval for American sales .

An advisory panel of experts from outside the F.D.A. is meeting Thursday to consider approving Arcoxia.