Vioxx (Rofecoxib) Available In Canada In Oral Suspension

MONTREAL, QC -- July 17, 2000 -- Vioxx (rofecoxib), a Canadian-discovered
drug for arthritis, is the only COX-2 inhibitor medication now available in
oral suspension form. This is an important alternative for people with
arthritis who have swallowing difficulties. Rofecoxib is approved by Health
Canada for the treatment for the relief of the signs and symptoms of
osteoarthritis (OA) in adults.

Swallowing is one of the most complex functions of the body. When muscle
movements become slow or uncoordinated, the 'swallow reflex' can become
delayed or incomplete. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health &
Family Services, up to 22 per cent of people over the age of 55 have
problems swallowing. For some people, tablets can be harder to swallow than
liquids which in turn can be a dilemma for physicians in prescribing an
appropriate medication.

"Physicians now have an additional alternative for those patients who are
better off taking their arthritis medicine in liquid form", said Dr. Claire
Bombardier, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto and Director,
Health Care Research Division, Arthritis and Autoimmunity Research Centre,
Toronto Hospital.

Up to now, naproxen, a traditional NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drug) which is currently one of the most commonly prescribed medications
used to relieve the pain and inflammation due to OA, was the only other
liquid arthritis medication. The arrival of COX-2 inhibitors, recognized as
a better-tolerated type of anti-inflammatory agent,is a significant
contribution to the treatment of arthritis. Rofecoxib is the first liquid
COX-2 inhibitor developed for people with arthritis.

"Merck Frosst made the development of rofecoxib a top priority and we've
designed a medication to suit patient needs," said Dr. Elizabeth Vadas,
Executive Director, Pharmaceutical Research & Development of Merck Research
Laboratories at Merck Frosst Canada & Co. "If a large proportion of patients
can't take a medicine, it's not clinically acceptable."

Rofecoxib oral suspension is now available by prescription in 12.5 mg/5mL
bottles and comes with a convenient, calibrated dosing cup. Rofecoxib is
also available in 12.5 mg and 25 mg strength tablet form. Both liquid and
tablet forms are bioequivalent (having the same absorption rate means
patients will have the same rapid onset of relief regardless of which form
they are prescribed).

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