SUMMARY: the drug Vioxx is a new option for osteoarthritis patients to help them manage their pain. Vioxx is the only arthritis prescription medication with a specially designed, user friendly cap feature, which makes it easier for people with arthritis to open their prescription bottle.
MONTREAL, QC — November 15, 1999 — Vioxx ™(rofecoxib), a Canadian-discovered breakthrough in arthritis will be available today in most pharmacies across Canada. Receiving fast-track review and recent approval by Health Canada, Vioxx is indicated for the treatment for the relief of the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA) in adults. Vioxx is also approved for acute adult pain relief and the treatment of menstrual pain.
People living with arthritis are challenged daily with simple tasks such as opening a prescription bottle or tackling a blister pack containing their medication. Vioxx is the only arthritis prescription medication with a specially designed, user friendly cap feature, which makes it easier for people with arthritis to open their prescription bottle.
“I am delighted that this Canadian discovery is now available for Canadians with arthritis”, said Dr. François Bertrand, Director, Clinical Research at Merck Frosst Canada & Co. “The specially-designed bottle cap is a meaningful gesture that will simplify a regular daily task for people with arthritis.”
Vioxx is priced at $1.25 per day, excluding professional dispensing fees, for either the 12.5 mg or 25 mg dose, which is similar to the other product in its class. The recommended therapeutic dose of Vioxx for OA is 12.5 mg once daily to a maximum of 25 mg once daily.
In the US Vioxx is now the fastest growing prescription arthritis medicine with more than 2.2 million prescriptions since its approval in May – making it one of the most successful product introductions in the pharmaceutical industry’s history in that country. Vioxx is now available in Canada.
Vioxx was discovered and developed by a team of world class researchers at the Merck Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research in Kirkland, Quebec where the company’s world-wide research on new classes of anti-inflammatory drugs is concentrated. To date, the new Canadian-discovered medication has been approved in a total of 23 countries including Canada.
“Clinical studies have shown Vioxx to be effective and well tolerated in a wide range of patients with arthritis – including those who are difficult to treat such as the frail and elderly, patients with other medical conditions who are taking other medications and patients who are allergic to sulfonamides,” said Dr. Claire Bombardier, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Rheumatologist, Mount Sinai and Toronto General Hospitals.
Clinical studies showed no overall differences in tolerability and efficacy between elderly and younger patient types.(1,2,3,4) The advantage of Vioxx was also maintained in higher risk groups that included patients with active Helicobacter pylori infection (often associated with duodenal ulcers), those with baseline gastroduodenal erosions and/or a prior history of perforation, ulcer or bleed (PUB).(3,4,5,6)
Vioxx is also not contraindicated in patients with sulfonamide allergies. Approximately five per cent of the Canadian population is susceptible to this form of allergy, which produces hypersensivity reactions such as rashes and GI sensitivities for example nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
1. Cannon et al. Arthritis Rheum. 1998;41 (suppl):S196
2. Acevedo E et al. Ann Rheum Dis (EULAR) June 1999, p206 (Abst no 858)
3. Laine et al. Gastroenterol 1999; 116(4): A229
4. Hawkley et al. Annals Rheum Dis 1999; Abstr. 861:207
5. Langman M et al. Gastroenterol 1999; 116(4): A232
6. Langman M et al. Annals Rheum Dis 1999; Abst. 862, p20.
Source: Merck Frosst Canada