What is the COX enzyme?
The cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme has two forms: COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 is found in a lot of cells all the time, notably the lining of the stomach where it regulates acid production. COX-2 is not present in most cells normally, only appearing when things are going wrong. As a result, COX-2 was thought to be responsible for the bad effects of the COX enzyme—pain and inflammation. Vioxx was developed based on this belief that COX-2 was responsible for the bad effects of the COX enzyme and to reduce or even eliminate the gastrointestinal risks involved with the non-selective (traditional) NSAIDs like Aspirin ( acetylsalicylic acid, ASA), Ibuprofen, Nabumetone and Naproxen, that inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. However, COX-2 serves other purposes besides its role in inflammation. Among the purposes the COX-2 enzyme serves is that it plays a major role in controlling the cardiovascular system - stopping platelets from forming blood clots (thrombi - plural form of thrombus) in the heart, and preventing damage to vessels. It also serves other functions that are beyond the scope of this FAQ to explain.
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Additional Vioxx Articles
- What is Vioxx?
- Why has Vioxx been withdrawn from the market?
- Were there any warning flags that led to Merck's recall of Vioxx?
- What evidence supports the withdrawal?
- Did the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require this action?
- What action did the FDA take?
- Why wasn't the APPROVe trial stopped earlier?
- What did the FDA know about the risk of heart attack and stroke when it approved Vioxx?
- What are NSAIDs?
- Does the withdrawal of Vioxx from the market suggest that other drugs in the same class are dangerous?
- Was there a request for a Vioxx recall by the FDA?
- Can my pharmacist continue to fill my prescription for Vioxx?
- What other drugs are similar to Vioxx?
- I had a prescription for Vioxx, and now that Vioxx is off the market, what questions should I ask my doctor in choosing a different COX-2 inhibitor?
- How can I report a serious Vioxx side effect to the FDA?
- Where can I get more information on Vioxx?