Analysis confirms Vioxx risks

The analysis published online by The Lancet medical journal also appears to show the higher risk started soon after patients began taking Vioxx.

Doctors critical of the manufacturer Merck and its reporting of Vioxx studies have long argued the increased heart risks started after just a few months use. But the company continues to insist the risks didn't increase until after about 18 months of use.

A company spokesman says this study is small and has several limitations.

Also in the report is the finding that other drugs in the same class of painkillers, known as COX-2 inhibitors, may cause similar harm.

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