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New data noted on Vioxx risk

May 18, 2006 | UPI The risk related to the painkiller Vioxx may begin earlier than what Merck & Co. has said, The Wall Street Journal reports, but the company doesn't agree.

The Journal says new company data suggest the cardiovascular risk begins within four months of Vioxx use, and not 18 months as the company has said.

The Journal cited a graph in a new one-year follow-up of patients. It said the graph tracking the number of "confirmed thrombotic cardiovascular events" indicated those occurring in Vioxx patients began to outpace those on a placebo by the fourth month of the study.

Merck said the data "do not establish that the risk for Vioxx starts earlier than had previously been reported," the newspaper said. Merck said for the first 18 months of the trial, the relative risk in the new analysis was similar to the old study. The Journal report said the company didn't give additional explanation about the graph. Merck withdrew the pill from the market in September 2004.

The Journal report said the company did not comment on whether the new report has been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration.

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