|What is the deal with Vioxx?
Vioxx worked to prevent your body from producing prostaglandins. Although prostaglandins are just lipids, I enjoy portraying them as rabid deer, as in proSTAGlandin.
I imagine them using their antlers to poke your joints from the inside!
Without prostaglandins, the sensation of pain is reduced.
Prostaglandins were first discovered in the 1930s by Ulf von Euler. You'll never guess where he found them.
Prostaglandins are produced by the cycloxygenases.
Cyclooxygenases are enzymes that produce the prostaglandins. I enjoy portraying them as merry-go-rounds with loosely-attached prostaglandins.
Cyclooxygenase has two "o"s.
Cyclooxygenase was first isolated in 1976, two years before Gene Simmons was isolated on his solo album.
Aspirin works by connecting its acetyl group to an amino acid, permanently locking the enzyme.
I think of this as a gigantic red clamp holding the cyclooxygenase from cyclo-ing.
Aspirin is awesome.... I mean AWESOME! but scientists and doctors weren't satisfied with it because it has an unfortunate side-effect: One of the cyclooxygenase enzymes that it inhibits is responsible for upkeep on your stomach lining, so if you take too much of it, or you take it too often, you may damage your stomach.
In 1991, scientists discovered there were actually two enzymes: Cyclooxygenase-1 and Cyclooxygenase-2.
Cox-2 is primarily responsible for amplifying pain and causing inflammation, and Cox-1 is responsible for creating the prostaglandins that maintain normal stomach mucus, influencing kidney function and keeping blood platelets slippery.
I imagine this is because the COX-1 prostaglandins are the ones that drool.
Merck, the inventors of Vioxx, were able to produce a cyclooxygenase inhibitor that pretty-much mostly only blocked the non-stomach related cyclooxygenase enzyme (COX-2), which meant that folks could take a lot of it without worrying about their stomach.
I should mention that while aspirin costs about 3 cents per dose, Vioxx pills were about $4 each. This is why the Vioxx clamp is portrayed in green.
The crazy thing about Vioxx, unfortunately, is that it is even more unlike aspirin than the inventors thought.
Recent studies have indicated that Vioxx is likely to increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients that took Vioxx for more than 18 months. It seems as though it must have some effect on the drooling prostaglandins from Cox-1 as well.
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science club | pranks | How much is inside? | Home | Incredible Stuff I Made The reason all your stoner friends aren't taking vioxx is because vioxx and other cyclooxygenase inhibitors have a limit to how well they dull the pain. It is like aspirin even taking a whole handful isn't going to get you wasted because they only control one step in the body's pain system.
Oct. 21st, 2004.