People who took Vioxx, the controversial painkiller, and lived to tell the tale, remained at risk of a heart attack or stroke for up to three years after stopping the drug.
At least 60,000 people died after taking Vioxx, and its manufacturer, Merck, faced the largest ever class action suit until it settled last year with a pay-out of $4.85bn. The drug was removed from the market in 2004 after researchers suspected it caused fatal heart attacks.
After the dust settled, Merck finally released its research notes to researchers from Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire, who confirmed that the drug could cause fatal heart attacks, stroke and heart problems.
The researchers also found that the effects could last for up to three years after taking the drug, which suggests that many more people may well have ended up as victims of Vioxx.
(Source: The Lancet, 2008; 372: 1756-64).