Vioxx was removed from the market in 2004 after a study originally showed that it doubled the risk of heart attack or stroke. Further research at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine showed that Vioxx blocked a single enzyme, Cox-2, that makes fats that cause pain.
One of these fats, however, protects the heart, and blocking Cox-2's production triggers biological effects that raise the cardiovascular risk even among healthy patients, said Garret FitzGerald, director of Penn's Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics.
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