Indexed on: 23 Aug '06Published on: 23 Aug '06Published in: Expert opinion on drug metabolism & toxicology
Etoricoxib is a highly selective COX-2 inhibitor (coxib) approved in Europe for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis and acute gouty arthritis. Etoricoxib is an effective analgesic drug that has shown some improved efficacy versus traditional NSAIDs and it is the only coxib approved for the treatment of acute gouty arthritis. Moreover, recent studies evidence its efficacy in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. In the Etoricoxib Diclofenac Gastrointestinal Evaluation study performed in patients with OA, etoricoxib significantly reduced the rate of discontinuation by 50% due to gastrointestinal adverse events versus diclofenac. Comparable rates of thrombotic cardiovascular events were detected. Rates of discontinuation due to hypertension-related adverse effects were higher on etoricoxib than diclofenac. Similarly to other selective COX-2 inhibitors, etoricoxib is contraindicated in patients with ischaemic heart disease or stroke and it should be used with caution in patients with risk factors for heart disease. The European Medicines Agency has contraindicated the use of etoricoxib in patients with uncontrolled hypertension. Selective COX-2 inhibitors remain an appropriate choice in patients at low cardiovascular risk, but with increased risk of gastrointestinal complications.