A relatively new drug used in the *symptomatic* treatment of osteoarthritis.

Vioxx is manufactured by Mersk Sharp & Dohme, and is the brand name for drug rofecoxib. Rofecoxib is described chemically was 4-[ 4-(methylsulfonyl)phenyl]-3-phenyl-2(5H)-furanone. This class of drug selectively inhibits cyclooxgenase-2 (COX-2) and has less effects on the gastro-intestinal tract compared to the COX-1 inhibitors, like ibuprofen and diclofenac.

The drug comes in the form of tablets and oral suspension and the dosage is such that it only needs to be taken ORALLY once daily. For the symptomatic treatment of osteoarthritis, it is recommended that starting dose is 12.5 mg once-daily, and can be increased to 25 mg once daily (which is also the maximum recommended daily dose).

Apparently there is no dosage adjustment necessary for elderly patients, and patients with mild to moderate renal insufficiency and mild to moderate hepatic insufficiency. However, it is not recommended for patients with advanced renal insufficiency. (No data for patients with severe hepatic insufficiency).

Not recommended for women who are attempting to conceive, in late pregnancy or lactating. It is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to the components of the product; patients with active peptic ulceration or GI bleeding; patients who have a history of asthma, urticaria or other allergic reactions after taking aspirin or other NSAIDs.

In Australia, this drug is on the restricted PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) list, which means that the drug is subsidised by the government.

This information is taken from a product information pamphlet given to medical professionals. Please see your doctor for more information pertaining to your individual situation. Information here is only intended for general educational purposes.

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