Osteoarthritis - 2001 National Meeting Reports (cont.)



Valdecoxib is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is being studied for use in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It is not yet commercially available. Prostaglandins are chemicals that are important contributors to the inflammation of arthritis, which causes pain, fever, swelling, and tenderness. Valdecoxib blocks the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (specifically, cyclooxygenase 2 or Cox-2), thereby resulting in lower concentrations of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation and its accompanying pain, fever, swelling, and tenderness are reduced. Cox-2 Inhibitors differ from traditional NSAIDs in that they cause less inflammation and ulceration of the stomach and intestine and do not interfere with the clotting of blood.

Valdecoxib was shown to be beneficial in treating osteoarthritis of the hip. 

Dr. Shiel's Perspective: This drug may be an additional Cox-2 on the menu in the near future.


Etoricoxib is another Cox-2 NSAID that is being investigated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (see Valdecoxib above). Previous studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in relieving the signs and symptoms of joint inflammation.

This experimental drug was shown to be effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee and hip in over 200 patients. 

Dr. Shiel's Perspective: The drug also may be an additional Cox-2 on the menu in the near future.

Fewer patients treated with etoricoxib had to discontinue the medication because of gastrointestinal complications as compared with the traditional NSAIDs, Voltaren, and Naprosyn

Dr. Shiel's Perspective: This is an example of a safety study that must be performed before a drug is approved to demonstrate its value. Because it is billed as a Cox-2 inhibitor, etoricoxib should, and apparently does, have advantages with regard to the stomach and intestines.