• Lumiracoxib;
  • Diclofenac;
  • Pain relief;
  • Osteoarthritis


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  7. Acknowledgements


To compare the efficacy and tolerability of the novel cyclooxygenase 2-selective inhibitor lumiracoxib with placebo and diclofenac in osteoarthritis (OA).


Adults (n = 583) with knee or hip OA were randomized to receive for 4 weeks lumiracoxib 50, 100, or 200 mg twice daily or 400 mg once daily; placebo; or diclofenac 75 mg twice daily. Efficacy assessments included overall joint pain intensity and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index subscales; tolerability was evaluated by adverse event and physician reporting.


All lumiracoxib doses were superior to placebo in relieving pain, improving stiffness, and improving physical function after 4 weeks. At study endpoint, pain relief was comparable among all lumiracoxib dosages and similar to diclofenac. Lumiracoxib tolerability was superior to diclofenac and comparable to placebo.


Lumiracoxib provides predictable and sustained relief from pain, stiffness, and impaired physical function in OA. Lumiracoxib shows clinically comparable efficacy and superior tolerability to diclofenac.


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  7. Acknowledgements

Osteoarthritis (OA) is not only the most common musculoskeletal disorder, affecting approximately 10% of the population worldwide and 16–30 million people in the US (1–4), but more importantly is a leading cause of pain, loss of physical function, and reduction in health-related quality of life (5). Treatment of this condition begins with a foundation of patient education, exercise, optimization of weight, and social support to which pharmacologic management is added, as needed, to control pain and increase physical function (6–8). Despite having inferior efficacy to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (9, 10), acetaminophen has been proposed as the initial therapeutic agent in OA function (6–8). These recommendations are based largely on the superior safety and tolerability profile of acetaminophen compared with traditional NSAIDs.

The major serious side effect of traditional NSAIDs is gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity, manifest as peptic ulcers, perforations, or bleeding (11, 12). Occurring at an annualized rate of 2–4% in patients regularly taking full prescription doses, these events are a consequence of a reduction in prostaglandin synthesis due to inhibition of the cyclooxygenase (COX) pathway by NSAIDs (13). The discovery of a second COX isoenzyme (COX-2) and the subsequent knowledge of its tissue distribution, regulation, expression, and function led to the COX-2 hypothesis: specific inhibitors of COX-2 will provide equivalent efficacy to traditional NSAIDs (which inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2 isoenzymes) but will result in greater GI safety (14).

This hypothesis was formally tested by the development of COX-2–selective inhibitors and subsequent clinical investigations of these drugs. Results of trials with currently marketed COX-2–selective inhibitors have demonstrated an efficacy profile that is similar to traditional NSAIDs with superior GI safety, measured as fewer endoscopic GI ulcers and better GI tolerability (15–28). Large GI outcome studies with 2 COX-2–selective inhibitors, rofecoxib and celecoxib, have generally supported these findings but have generated additional questions regarding the long-term cardiovascular and GI safety of these agents (19, 25, 29, 30).

Lumiracoxib is a novel COX-2–selective inhibitor chemically distinct from the other COX-2–selective inhibitors by virtue of the absence of a sulfur-containing moiety and the presence of a carboxylic acid group, making it a weakly acidic molecule (pKa 4.7) (31). Previous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of lumiracoxib in acute dental pain (32, 33), but this phase II dose-ranging study is the first assessment of lumiracoxib in patients with OA.

The primary goal of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of different dosages and dosing regimens of lumiracoxib compared with both placebo and the maximum recommended therapeutic dosage (75 mg twice daily) of diclofenac.


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  7. Acknowledgements

This was an international, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, multicenter study conducted over 4 weeks. The primary objective was to determine the efficacy of lumiracoxib at 4 dosages, compared with placebo, in the treatment of OA as evaluated by the change in overall pain intensity in the most severely affected joint. Secondary objectives included the assessment of the safety and tolerability profile of lumiracoxib compared with placebo, and the efficacy, safety, and tolerability compared with the maximum therapeutic dosage of diclofenac (75 mg twice daily).

The study was conducted at 50 centers in 7 countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, UK, and US) between August and December 1999. The study was approved by the appropriate institutional review boards and was conducted according to Good Clinical Practice guidelines and in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki (1964 and subsequent revisions). Patients provided written informed consent prior to any study procedure.


Adult patients (aged 18–75 years) were eligible to participate in the study if they had a clinical or radiographic diagnosis of primary OA of the knee or hip (diagnosed according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria) (34, 35), had been symptomatic for at least 3 months prior to enrollment, and had received an NSAID or other analgesic therapy on a regular basis. Patients were required to have experienced a pain intensity of at least 40 mm on a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS; 0 mm representing no pain and 100 mm representing very severe pain) in the most severely affected joint during the 24 hours prior to randomization. Patients were excluded from the trial if they had secondary OA or had a history of, or evidence of, specified confounding disorders (e.g., septic arthritis, inflammatory joint disease, gout, Paget's disease, or articular fracture). Significant medical problems that would, in the opinion of the investigator, influence outcomes were also grounds for exclusion, as were a history of GI bleeding; open knee or hip surgery within 1 year prior to study entry; anemia; or hepatic, renal, or blood coagulation disorders. Women who were pregnant, lactating, or who were not using adequate birth control (and were of childbearing age) were not eligible. Potentially confounding concomitant treatment, including physiotherapy, any NSAID, systemic corticosteroids, intraarticular injection into the study joint, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate, diacerhein, minocycline, H2 blockers, proton-pump inhibitors, misoprostol, or antacids, were not permitted during the study period.

After a washout period of 3–7 days, during which no NSAID therapy was permitted, eligible patients were randomized to receive lumiracoxib 50 mg twice daily, 100 mg twice daily, 200 mg twice daily, 400 mg once daily, diclofenac 75 mg twice daily, or placebo. Patients were permitted a maximum of 6 tablets (total dose 3 gm) of acetaminophen per day as rescue medication. Compliance with study treatment and the use of rescue medication were assessed through direct questioning and capsule/tablet counting.


The primary efficacy comparison was between placebo and each active arm at week 4 of the overall joint pain intensity experienced in the most severely affected joint (hip or knee) over the previous 24 hours, using a 100-mm VAS. Overall joint pain intensity was assessed by asking subjects: “Please indicate with a vertical mark through the horizontal line the most pain you had from your OA joint over the last 24 hours.” The joint assessed to be the most severely affected at screening was evaluated for the entire study.

Secondary efficacy measures were overall joint (for the most severely affected joint) pain intensity according to the 100-mm VAS by visit (i.e., at weeks 1 and 2); patient's and physician's global assessment of disease activity using 100-mm VAS; assessment of pain, stiffness, and physical function using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC 3.1 Likert questionnaire) (36); and evaluation of functional impairment using the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) standard disability index. The global assessment of disease activity, the HAQ, and the WOMAC were applied at baseline and week 4.

Safety variables included adverse events (AEs), serious AEs (SAEs), laboratory evaluations, vital signs, and physical examinations including a specific assessment of peripheral edema conducted each week. AEs were graded based on qualitative assessment of the extent or intensity of the AE by the investigator, or as reported by the subject. SAEs were defined as any event that was fatal or considered life-threatening, which required prolonged hospitalization; caused permanent disability; or constituted cancer, congenital anomaly, or overdose.

Statistical analyses.

The sample size was calculated to detect an 11-mm difference between lumiracoxib and placebo for pain assessed on the VAS after 4 weeks of treatment, assuming a 20-mm SD and a dropout rate of 10%. A sample size of 85 patients per treatment group was required to ensure 80% power at a significance level of 5% (two-sided) on the basis of these assumptions.

Descriptive statistics were used for baseline demographics and background data. Homogeneity between treatment groups at baseline was assessed using a one-way analysis of variance F-test for continuous variables and a chi-square test for categorical variables.

The efficacy analyses were performed using a modified intent-to-treat (ITT) population, comprising all patients who were randomized to treatment, who had received 1 or more doses of trial medication, and for whom at least 1 postbaseline assessment was obtained. A postbaseline, last observation carried forward approach was used to account for any missing data points, thus, baseline data were not carried forward if postbaseline data were not available. All patients who were randomized and had received at least 1 dose of study medication were included in the safety evaluation.

The confirmatory analysis was performed on the ITT population to determine the minimum effective regimen that reached statistical significance. The closed version of the multiple union intersection procedure of the Dunnett test according to Marcus and colleagues (37, 38) was used to compare the lumiracoxib regimens with placebo with respect to the primary efficacy variable. The least-squares means were obtained using an analysis of variance model, which considered change from baseline in overall joint pain intensity as the response variable, with treatment and center as factors.

The secondary analyses included an analysis of covariance to compare treatment groups with respect to primary and secondary efficacy variables, with treatment and center as factors and the overall joint pain intensity at baseline as a covariate. All pairwise comparisons were performed at the level of 5% (two-sided) without adjusting for multiple comparisons.

The assessment of safety was based upon the frequency of AEs, electrocardiogram results, vital signs, and on the consideration of notable laboratory values that fell outside predetermined ranges (e.g., doubling of creatinine levels or increase in creatinine >2 mg/ml, increase in liver transaminase levels to >3 times the upper limit of normal, anemia defined as a ≥2 gm/dl reduction in hemoglobin from baseline).


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  7. Acknowledgements

Study population.

A total of 583 patients were randomized (Figure 1) to receive either lumiracoxib 50 mg twice daily (n = 98), 100 mg twice daily (n = 96), 200 mg twice daily (n = 99), 400 mg once daily (n = 99), diclofenac 75 mg twice daily (n = 94), or placebo (n = 97). The treatment groups were well matched with no significant differences in baseline demographics and disease characteristics (Table 1). In total, 65 (11%) patients discontinued treatment prior to the end of the study. The main reasons for withdrawal were the emergence of AEs (n = 32), lack of efficacy (n = 10; with 6 in the placebo group), protocol violations (n = 9), and withdrawal of consent (n = 8). The mean exposure to study treatment in the 6 groups ranged from 26 to 28 days.

thumbnail image

Figure 1. Disposition of study participants. bid = twice daily; qd = once daily; AEs = adverse events.

Download figure to PowerPoint

Table 1. Patient characteristics*
 Lumiracoxib 50 mg bidLumiracoxib 100 mg bidLumiracoxib 200 mg bidLumiracoxib 400 mg qdDiclofenac 75 mg bidPlaceboTotal
  • *

    bid = twice daily; qd = once daily; BMI = body mass index.

No. of patients989699999497583
Age, mean ± SD years61.3 ± 8.559.8 ± 9.459.5 ± 9.960.1 ± 9.459.7 ± 8.661.5 ± 9.360.3 ± 9.2
Sex, no. (%)       
 Male31 (32)29 (30)25 (25)41 (41)30 (32)32 (33)188 (32)
 Female67 (68)67 (70)74 (75)58 (59)64 (68)65 (67)395 (68)
BMI, mean ± SD kg/m230.0 ± 6.929.7 ± 5.629.7 ± 6.630.3 ± 5.030.1 ± 7.529.2 ± 5.929.8 ± 6.3
Disease duration, mean (range) years7.4 (0–45)6.6 (0–30)6.9 (0–51)6.3 (0–29)6.3 (0–36)8.0 (0–55)6.9 (0–55)

The greatest percentage of patients taking rescue medication (68%) and the greatest use of rescue medication (mean of 1.1 tablets per day) were found in the placebo group. Between 48% and 60% of patients in the active treatment groups took rescue medication (mean of 0.4 to 0.6 tablets per day). No significant differences were seen between any of the active treatment groups.

Overall joint pain intensity.

All doses of lumiracoxib were found to be effective in the confirmatory analysis of the primary efficacy variable: overall joint pain intensity. All were superior to placebo (P ≤ 0.002) in terms of change from baseline from week 1 onward until study end (Figure 2). Mean overall joint pain intensity VAS scores at baseline of 64.7–67.0 mm were reduced to 33.7–38.4 mm at week 4 with active treatment (all dosages of lumiracoxib and diclofenac) and from 67.9 mm to 50.2 mm with placebo. Thus, all doses of lumiracoxib showed significantly lower joint pain intensity at 4 weeks compared with placebo, with a somewhat greater mean change for the lumiracoxib 400 mg once daily group. Throughout the study, there were no significant differences in the degree of reduction of pain intensity between any of the 3 lumiracoxib doses administered twice daily compared with the 400 mg once daily dose, except for a modestly reduced effect for the 50 mg twice daily and 100 mg twice daily doses at week 1 only (P < 0.05). At the study end, all dosages of lumiracoxib demonstrated comparable efficacy to each other and to diclofenac 75 mg twice daily.

thumbnail image

Figure 2. Overall pain intensity measured using a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS) in adult patients with primary osteoarthritis of the knee or hip who were randomized to receive lumiracoxib 50 mg twice daily (bid), 100 mg twice daily, 200 mg twice daily, 400 mg once daily (qd); or diclofenac 75 mg twice daily; or placebo for 4 weeks. P values were calculated on the least square means. **P = 0.002, lumiracoxib 50 mg twice daily versus placebo. ***P ≤ 0.001, lumiracoxib 50 mg twice daily versus placebo. #P ≤ 0.001, lumiracoxib 100 mg twice daily, 200 mg twice daily, and 400 mg once daily versus placebo. †P < 0.001, diclofenac 75 mg twice daily versus placebo.

Download figure to PowerPoint

Global assessment of disease activity.

For the secondary endpoint, physician's global assessment of disease activity, all of the active treatments (lumiracoxib and diclofenac) were significantly superior to placebo at week 4 (all P ≤ 0.001) (Table 2). Moreover, after 4 weeks of treatment, the results with each of the lumiracoxib dosages studied were similar to diclofenac 75 mg twice daily. Mean physician global assessment VAS scores at baseline of 56.6–61.3 mm were reduced to 33.1–37.3 mm at week 4 with active treatment (all dosages of lumiracoxib and diclofenac) and from 60.4 mm to 47.3 mm with placebo. Similarly, all active treatments (all dosages of lumiracoxib and diclofenac) were significantly superior to placebo at week 4 for the patient's global assessment (all P ≤ 0.001) (Table 2); active treatments reduced mean VAS baseline scores of 62.0–64.0 mm to 34.4–38.8 mm by week 4, whereas patients receiving placebo had a reduction from 62.5 mm at baseline to 50.0 mm at week 4.

Table 2. Patient's and physician's global assessments of disease activity at baseline and week 4*
Treatment groupPatient's global assessment of disease activity (VAS mm), mean ± SDPhysician's global assessment of disease activity (VAS mm), mean ± SD
No.BaselineWeek 4No.BaselineWeek 4
  • *

    VAS = visual analog scale; bid = twice daily; qd = once daily.

Lumiracoxib 50 mg bid9563.1 ± 17.538.8 ± 21.59459.1 ± 15.737.3 ± 20.2
Lumiracoxib 100 mg bid9462.0 ± 18.537.8 ± 22.29456.6 ± 17.133.4 ± 20.4
Lumiracoxib 200 mg bid9264.0 ± 17.337.5 ± 24.09161.3 ± 14.734.3 ± 20.0
Lumiracoxib 400 mg qd9863.7 ± 16.535.6 ± 24.19659.6 ± 15.133.1 ± 21.3
Diclofenac 75 mg bid9262.2 ± 16.234.4 ± 23.09257.2 ± 15.633.4 ± 18.5
Placebo9662.5 ± 18.150.0 ± 23.09560.4 ± 15.747.3 ± 22.1

WOMAC assessments.

The 3 WOMAC subscales were assessed as secondary efficacy measures (Table 3). The WOMAC pain subscale score demonstrated that all lumiracoxib treatment regimens were as effective as diclofenac 75 mg twice daily. At week 4, all active treatment groups were statistically superior to placebo (mean score 8.1; P ≤ 0.001 for lumiracoxib 50 mg twice daily [mean score 6.4], lumiracoxib 200 mg twice daily [mean score 6.4], lumiracoxib 400 mg once daily [mean score 5.7], and diclofenac 75 mg twice daily [mean score 6.2]; P = 0.006 for lumiracoxib 100 mg twice daily [mean score 6.8]).

Table 3. WOMAC subscale scores at baseline and week 4*
Treatment groupWOMAC pain, mean ± SDWOMAC physical function, mean ± SDWOMAC stiffness, mean ± SD
No.BaselineNo.Week 4No.BaselineNo.Week 4No.BaselineNo.Week 4
  • *

    WOMAC = Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index; bid = twice daily; qd = once daily.

Lumiracoxib 50 mg bid969.8 ± 3.6956.4 ± 4.19631.8 ± 12.19621.5 ± 13.7964.4 ± 1.6962.7 ± 1.7
Lumiracoxib 100 mg bid959.6 ± 3.0946.8 ± 3.99431.1 ± 11.39323.2 ± 13.0944.3 ± 1.6943.0 ± 1.8
Lumiracoxib 200 mg bid969.6 ± 3.7926.4 ± 4.09531.5 ± 11.89120.8 ± 14.1924.2 ± 1.6922.7 ± 1.8
Lumiracoxib 400 mg qd979.5 ± 3.3975.7 ± 3.99832.0 ± 11.29719.0 ± 12.8984.3 ± 1.7982.7 ± 1.9
Diclofenac 75 mg bid949.5 ± 3.4926.2 ± 4.09331.1 ± 12.69020.0 ± 13.2914.0 ± 1.5912.7 ± 1.8
Placebo959.6 ± 3.5938.1 ± 3.69532.7 ± 10.49427.3 ± 12.7924.2 ± 1.5933.5 ± 1.8

On the WOMAC physical function subscale, all active treatment groups, with the exception of lumiracoxib 100 mg twice daily, achieved statistically superior results at week 4 compared with placebo (mean score 27.3; P ≤ 0.001, [mean scores 19.0–21.5]; P = 0.056 for lumiracoxib 100 mg twice daily [mean score 23.2]).

On the WOMAC stiffness subscale, the scores for all lumiracoxib dosages were similar to diclofenac. All active treatments achieved statistically superior scores compared with placebo (mean 3.5) at week 4 (P ≤ 0.001 for lumiracoxib 50 mg twice daily, 200 mg twice daily, and 400 mg once daily; P = 0.035 for lumiracoxib 100 mg twice daily; P = 0.002 for diclofenac 75 mg twice daily). The mean score at week 4 was 2.7 for all active treatments except lumiracoxib 100 mg twice daily (mean score 3.0).

Overall, the effects of the various dosages of lumiracoxib on all WOMAC scores at week 4 were similar.

Health Assessment Questionnaire.

Significant differences in the HAQ score were observed for the lumiracoxib 50 mg twice daily (mean score 0.8; P = 0.007), lumiracoxib 200 mg twice daily (mean score 0.8; P = 0.008), lumiracoxib 400 mg once daily (mean score 0.7; P = 0.009), and diclofenac 75 mg twice daily (mean score 0.7; P = 0.001) groups compared with placebo (mean score 1.0) after 4 weeks of treatment. Although the HAQ score for the 100 mg twice daily group improved over the course of the study, at week 4 the comparison with placebo was not significant (mean score 0.9; P = 0.177). No statistically significant differences were seen either between the different lumiracoxib treatment groups or between any lumiracoxib dosage and diclofenac.

Safety and tolerability.

The majority of AEs reported were mild to moderate in intensity in all treatment groups. The incidence of any AE (i.e., including mild to severe, treatment related, and nontreatment related) was similar across the 4 lumiracoxib dosage groups and the placebo group (Table 4). No dosage-related trend was observed in the incidence of AEs overall, or in moderate to severe AEs. The most frequently reported treatment-related AEs across all treatment groups (including placebo and diclofenac) were diarrhea, nausea, dyspepsia, and edema. The proportion of patients experiencing at least 1 GI-related AE was markedly higher among patients treated with diclofenac 75 mg twice daily (41.5%) compared with placebo (17.5%) and each lumiracoxib group (23.2–26.5%). Moreover, the incidence of moderate to severe GI AEs was greater in patients treated with diclofenac 75 mg twice daily than with all lumiracoxib groups combined (for diclofenac, lumiracoxib all doses, and placebo, respectively: abdominal pain, 9%, 2%, and 3%; nausea, 5%, 1%, and 1%; dyspepsia, 3%, 2%, and 1%). Edema was generally mild in degree and reported with an incidence ranging from 4.1% in the placebo group to 11.5% in the group receiving lumiracoxib 100 mg twice daily. Moderate to severe edema was reported in 4% of patients receiving diclofenac 75 mg twice daily, in 1% of those receiving lumiracoxib (all dosages), and in none of the patients who received placebo. There was no evidence of dosage-dependent edema in the lumiracoxib groups and no moderate to severe edema was seen at the highest doses. No SAEs were reported in any of the active treatment groups. One SAE was reported for a patient randomized to placebo. In general, notable abnormal laboratory test results did not follow any clinically relevant pattern in any treatment group.

Table 4. Most frequent adverse events (≥5% for any group)*
Adverse eventLumiracoxib 50 mg bid n = 98 no. (%)Lumiracoxib 100 mg bid n = 96 no. (%)Lumiracoxib 200 mg bid n = 99 no. (%)Lumiracoxib 400 mg qd n = 99 no. (%)Diclofenac 75 mg bid n = 94 no. (%)Placebo n = 97 no. (%)
  • *

    bid = twice daily; qd = once daily; excl. = excluding.

  • With one exception, which occurred in the placebo group, this includes upper abdominal pain only.

  • Although not always specified, it can be assumed that all patients had peripheral/lower limb edema.

Gastrointestinal disorders      
 Abdominal pain4 (4.1)6 (6.3)7 (7.1)6 (6.1)14 (14.9)6 (6.2)
 Diarrhea8 (8.2)2 (2.1)6 (6.1)10 (10.1)10 (10.6)4 (4.1)
 Nausea4 (4.1)8 (8.3)4 (4.0)1 (1.0)10 (10.6)1 (1.0)
 Constipation5 (5.1)3 (3.1)1 (1.0)5 (5.1)6 (6.4)2 (2.1)
 Dyspepsia6 (6.1)4 (4.2)3 (3.0)2 (2.0)6 (6.4)2 (2.1)
 Abdominal distension3 (3.1)3 (3.1)2 (2.0)0 (0.0)5 (5.3)2 (2.1)
Cardiac disorders      
 Edema5 (5.1)11 (11.5)8 (8.1)8 (8.1)5 (5.3)4 (4.1)
Nervous system disorders      
 Headache4 (4.1)7 (7.3)5 (5.1)2 (2.0)5 (5.3)9 (9.3)
 Dizziness (excluding  vertigo)2 (2.0)4 (4.2)5 (5.1)2 (2.0)1 (1.1)1 (1.0)
 Fatigue0 (0.0)5 (5.2)2 (2.0)1 (1.0)2 (2.1)1 (1.0)
Infections and infestations      
 Nasopharyngitis1 (1.0)3 (3.1)3 (3.0)3 (3.0)5 (5.3)2 (2.1)

Discontinuations due to AEs were similar among each of the lumiracoxib treatment groups and placebo. However, there were more discontinuations due to AEs in the diclofenac 75 mg twice daily group (14%) than in the placebo (4%) and lumiracoxib (3–5%) groups.


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  7. Acknowledgements

The results presented here demonstrate the efficacy of the novel COX-2–selective inhibitor lumiracoxib in relieving the signs and symptoms of OA. Four dosages of lumiracoxib (50 mg twice daily, 100 mg twice daily, 200 mg twice daily, and 400 mg once daily) were tested to establish the minimum effective dosage regimen for the treatment of OA. In terms of overall joint pain intensity, all dosages of lumiracoxib afforded significantly greater pain relief than placebo over 4 weeks of treatment. Throughout the study, all dosages of lumiracoxib were equally effective in lowering pain intensity, although at week 1 there was a modestly greater improvement in pain relief with the 400 mg once daily lumiracoxib dose when compared with the 50 and 100 mg twice daily doses.

All secondary efficacy endpoints supported these observations. Each of the WOMAC subscales demonstrated significant differences at week 4 between each of the active agents and placebo. Similarly, changes in patient and physician global assessment of disease activity, as well as the HAQ score, showed consistent significant differences between all active arms and placebo. No consistent significant differences in these endpoints were observed between the different lumiracoxib dosages.

A comparison of a once-daily versus a twice-daily dosing regimen of lumiracoxib was specifically undertaken in this study. No significant differences in efficacy measures were seen between the lumiracoxib 400 mg once-daily and 200 mg twice-daily dosing regimens, and both were comparable in terms of efficacy to the maximum therapeutic dosage of diclofenac used in this study. These data support the once-daily dosing option with lumiracoxib, which has important implications for convenience and compliance with therapy. This is particularly important among elderly patients who often find multiple daily dosing regimens difficult to adhere to or complex (39, 40).

The sustained efficacy of lumiracoxib in relieving pain over 24 hours stands in distinction to the pharmacokinetic profile of this drug, as lumiracoxib has a relatively short plasma half-life (plasma t½ of 3–6 hours) (41). The basis for the prolonged pharmacodynamic action of lumiracoxib is unknown but may relate to the fact that it is an acidic compound, unlike the other currently available COX-2 inhibitors. Acidic NSAIDs are known to be retained over time at higher concentrations in synovial fluid compared with plasma (42). Diclofenac, an acidic dual-inhibitor NSAID, has been shown by several investigators to have a longer half-life in synovial fluid than in plasma in patients with synovial effusions (43–47) and the efficacy of diclofenac administered twice daily has been shown to be more consistent with its pharmacokinetic profile in synovial fluid rather than in plasma (48). Similarly, data demonstrate that the synovial fluid half-life of lumiracoxib is prolonged compared with its plasma half-life (49, 50). Thus, regardless of its relatively short plasma half-life, lumiracoxib administered once daily has been shown in this study to provide excellent sustained pain relief, comparable to one of the current standard therapies for OA. The short plasma half-life coupled with once-daily dosing may also prove beneficial in reducing some exposure-related side effects, but this requires evaluation in further studies specifically focused on this issue.

In this study, the overall number of AEs was small in all treatment groups, but discontinuations were primarily related to AEs associated with the GI system. There was no evidence of a relationship between lumiracoxib dosage and the frequency of AEs. Gastrointestinal AEs occurred more frequently in the diclofenac 75 mg twice daily group than in any lumiracoxib group or the placebo group. Specifically, the incidence of GI AEs was markedly lower in patients treated with lumiracoxib than in those who received diclofenac 75 mg twice daily, indicating that lumiracoxib is significantly better tolerated in the GI system. These results are consistent with previous reports of the low rate of GI adverse effects with other COX-2–selective inhibitors (15, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 51). Differences in the rates of other AEs between patients treated with lumiracoxib and either placebo or diclofenac were not marked. The study was too small and not designed to detect clinically meaningful differences in most safety endpoints.

In summary, over the 4-week period of this study, lumiracoxib provided effective relief from the symptoms of OA (pain and stiffness), improved overall physical function, and was well tolerated. All dosage regimens of lumiracoxib were significantly more effective than placebo and comparable to diclofenac in relieving the signs and symptoms of OA. Lumiracoxib had a tolerability profile comparable to that of placebo and superior GI tolerability, even at the highest dosage studied, compared with the nonselective NSAID diclofenac (75 mg twice daily), while providing similar efficacy.

Because all lumiracoxib dosages used in this trial showed superior efficacy to placebo, additional studies of longer duration with larger patient populations evaluating different total daily dosages of lumiracoxib as well as once-daily dosing regimens are warranted. Furthermore, trials of longer duration with larger patient populations will be needed to confirm both the efficacy data from this trial as well as obtain additional information regarding the safety of lumiracoxib. Results from this phase II study thus provide initial evidence that lumiracoxib is an effective, well-tolerated alternative to traditional NSAIDs for the treatment of pain and inflammation associated with OA.


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  7. Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution made by K. Burger.


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  7. Acknowledgements
  • 1
    Lawrence RC, Helmick CG, Arnett FC, Deyo RA, Felson DT, Giannini EH, et al. Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and selected musculoskeletal disorders in the United States. Arthritis Rheum 1998; 41: 77899.
  • 2
    Simon LS. Osteoarthritis: a review. Clin Cornerstone 1999; 2: 2637.
  • 3
    Hinton R, Moody RL, Davis AW, Thomas SF. Osteoarthritis: diagnosis and therapeutic considerations. Am Fam Physician 2002; 65: 8418.
  • 4
    Elders MJ. The increasing impact of arthritis on public health. J Rheumatol Suppl 2000; 60: 68.
  • 5
    March LM, Bachmeier CJ. Economics of osteoarthritis: a global perspective. Baillieres Clin Rheumatol 1997; 11: 81734.
  • 6
    Altman RD, Kochberg MC, Moskowitz RW, Schnitzer TJ. Recommendations for the medical management of osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. Arthritis Rheum 2000; 43: 190515.
  • 7
    Eccles M, Freemantle N, Mason J. North of England evidence based guideline development project: summary guideline for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs versus basic analgesia in treating the pain of degenerative arthritis. BMJ 1998; 317: 52630.
  • 8
    Pendleton A, Arden N, Dougados M, Doherty M, Bannwarth B, Bijlsma JW, et al. EULAR recommendations for the management of knee osteoarthritis: report of a task force of the Standing Committee for International Clinical Studies Including Therapeutic Trials (ESCISIT). Ann Rheum Dis 2000; 59: 93644.
  • 9
    Pincus T, Koch GG, Sokka T, Lefkowith J, Wolfe F, Jordan JM, et al. A randomized, double-blind, crossover clinical trial of diclofenac plus misoprostol versus acetaminophen in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. Arthritis Rheum 2001; 44: 158798.
  • 10
    Altman RD, The IAP Study group, Miami, FL. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen and placebo in osteoarthritis of the knee: a six-day double-blind study. Arthritis Rheum 1999; 42 Suppl 9: S404.
  • 11
    Hernandez-Diaz S, Garcia Rodriguez LA. Association between nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding and perforation: an overview of epidemiological studies published in the 1990s. Arch Intern Med 2000; 160: 20939.
  • 12
    Hernandez-Diaz S, Garcia Rodriguez LA. Epidemiological assessment of the safety of conventional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Am J Med 2001; 110: 20S7S.
  • 13
    Vane J, Botting R. Inflammation and the mechanism of action of anti-inflammatory drugs. FASEB J 1987; 1: 8996.
  • 14
    FitzGerald GA, Patrono C. The coxibs, selective inhibitors of cyclooxygenase-2. Drug Ther 2001; 345: 43342.
  • 15
    Simon LS, Lanza FL, Lipsky PE, Hubbard RC, Talwalker S, Schwartz BD, et al. Preliminary study of the safety and efficacy of SC-58635, a novel cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitor: efficacy and safety in two placebo-controlled trials in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and studies of gastrointestinal and platelet effects. Arthritis Rheum 1998; 41: 1591602.
  • 16
    Bensen WG, Flechtner JJ, McMillen JI, Zhao WW, Yu SS, Woods EM, et al. Treatment of osteoarthritis with celecoxib, a cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor: a randomized, controlled trial. Mayo Clin Proc 1999; 74: 1095105.
  • 17
    Laine L, Harper S, Simon T, Bath R, Johanson J, Schwartz H, et al. A randomized trial comparing the effect of rofecoxib, a cyclooxygenase-2 specific inhibitor, with that of ibuprofen on the gastroduodenal mucosa of patients with osteoarthritis. Gastroenterology 1999; 117: 77683.
  • 18
    Langman MJ, Jensen DM, Watson DJ, Harper SE, Zhao PL, Quan H, et al. Adverse upper gastrointestinal effects of rofecoxib compared with NSAIDs. JAMA 1999; 282: 192933.
  • 19
    Bombardier C, Laine L, Reicin A, Shapiro D, Burgos Vargas R, Davis B, et al. Comparison of upper gastrointestinal toxicity of rofecoxib and naproxen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. N Engl J Med 2000; 343: 15208.
  • 20
    Cannon GW, Caldwell JR, Holt P, McLean B, Seidenberg B, Bolognese J, et al. Rofecoxib, a specific inhibitor of cyclooxygenase 2, with clinical efficacy comparable with that of diclofenac sodium: results of a one-year, randomized, clinical trial in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and hip. Arthritis Rheum 2000; 43: 97887.
  • 21
    Day R, Morrison B, Luza A, Castenado O, Strusberg A, Nahir M, et al. A randomized trial of the efficacy and tolerability of the COX-2 inhibitor rofecoxib vs ibuprofen in patients with osteoarthritis. Arch Intern Med 2000; 160: 17817.
  • 22
    Hochberg MC. What have we learned from the large outcomes trials of COX-2 selective inhibitors: the rheumatologist's perspective. Clin Exp Rheumatol 2001; 19 Suppl 25: S1522.
  • 23
    Goldstein JL, Silverstein FE, Agrawal NM, Hubbard RC, Kaiser J, Maurath CJ, et al. Reduced risk of upper gastrointestinal ulcer complications with celecoxib, a novel COX-2 inhibitor. Am J Gastroenterol 2000; 95: 168190.
    Direct Link:
  • 24
    Goldstein JL, Correa P, Zhao WW, Burr AM, Hubbard RC, Verburg K, et al. Reduced incidence of gastroduodenal ulcers with celecoxib, a novel cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, compared to naproxen in patients with arthritis. Am J Gastroenterol 2001; 96: 101927.
    Direct Link:
  • 25
    Silverstein FE, Faich G, Goldstein JL, Simon LS, Pincus T, Whelton A, et al. Gastrointestinal toxicity with celecoxib vs nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: the CLASS study: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2000; 284: 124755.
  • 26
    Deeks JJ, Smith LA, Bradley MD. Efficacy, tolerability and upper gastrointestinal safety of celecoxib for treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review of randomised control trials. BMJ 2002; 325: 61923.
  • 27
    Hawkey C, Laine L, Simon T, Beaulieu A, Maldonado Cocco J, Acevedo E, et al. Comparison of the effect of rofecoxib (a cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitor), ibuprofen, and placebo on the gastroduodenal mucosa of patients with osteoarthritis: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum 2000; 43: 3707.
  • 28
    Mamdani M, Rochon PA, Juurlink DN, Kopp A, Anderson GM, Naglie G, et al. Observational study of upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage in elderly patients given selective cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors or conventional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. BMJ 2002; 325: 6247.
  • 29
    FDA. Labeling changes for arthritis drug celebrex. Accessed April 12, 2004. URL:
  • 30
    FDA. FDA approves new indication and label changes for the arthritis drug, Vioxx. Accessed April 12, 2004. URL:
  • 31
    Mangold JB, Gu H, Rodriguez LC, Bonner J, Dickson J, Rordorf C. Pharmacokinetics and metabolism of lumiracoxib in healthy male subjects. Drug Metab Rev 2004; 32: 56671.
  • 32
    Fricke J, Zelenakas K, Jayawardene S, Manning D. Efficacy of COX189 compared to rofecoxib in the treatment of postoperative dental pain: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. World Congress on Pain (WCP); 2002 Aug 17–22; San Diego, California. Abstract 953-P223.
  • 33
    Zelenakas K, Fricke J Jr, Jayawardene S, Kellstein D. Analgesic efficacy of single oral doses of lumiracoxiband ibuprofen in patients with postoperative dental pain. Int J Clin Pract 2004; 58: 2516.
  • 34
    Altman R, Asch E, Bloch G, Bole G, Borenstein D, Brandt K, et al. Development of criteria for the classification and reporting of osteoarthritis: classification of osteoarthritis of the knee. Arthritis Rheum 1986; 29: 103949.
  • 35
    Altman R, Alarcon G, Appelrouth D, Bloch D, Borenstein D, Brandt K, et al. The American College of Rheumatology criteria for the classification and reporting of osteoarthritis of the hip. Arthritis Rheum 1991; 34: 50514.
  • 36
    Bellamy N, Buchanan WW, Goldsmith CH, Campbell J, Stitt LW. Validation study of WOMAC: a health status instrument for measuring clinically important patient relevant outcomes to antirheumatic drug therapy in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. J Rheumatol 1988; 15: 183340.
  • 37
    Dunnett CW. A multiple comparison procedure for comparing several treatments with a control. J Am Stat Assoc 1955; 50: 1096121.
  • 38
    Marcus R, Peritz E, Gabriel KR. On closed testing procedures with special reference to ordered analysis of variance. Biometrika 1976; 63: 65560.
  • 39
    Eisen SA, Miller DK, Woodward RS, Spitznagel E, Przybeck TR. The effect of prescribed daily dose frequency on patient medication compliance. Arch Intern Med 1990; 150: 18814.
  • 40
    Salzman C. Medication compliance in the elderly. J Clin Psychiatry 1995; 56 Suppl 1: 1822.
  • 41
    Scott G, Rordorf C, Blood P, Branson J, Milosavljev S, Greig G. Dose escalation study to assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of COX189 in healthy subjects. Ann Rheum Dis 2002; 61 Suppl 1: 242 Abstract FR10300.
  • 42
    Day RO, McLachlan AJ, Graham GG, Williams KM. Pharmacokinetics of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in synovial fluid. Clin Pharmacokinet 1999; 36: 191210.
  • 43
    Benson MD, Aldo-Benson M, Brandt K. Synovial fluid concentrations of diclofenac in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Semin Arthritis Rheum 1985; 5 Suppl 1: 657.
  • 44
    Fowler PD, Shadforth MF, Crook PR, John VA. Plasma and synovial fluid concentrations of diclofenac sodium and its major hydroxylated metabolites during long-term treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1983; 25: 38994.
  • 45
    Gaucher A, Netter P, Faure G, Sioufi A, Schoeller JP. Passage du diclofénac sodium dans le liquide synovial. Thérapie 1983; 38: 4314.
  • 46
    Sioufi A, Schoeller JP, Schwarzberg C, Colussi D, Mangoni P. Présence du diclofénac dans le plasma et le liquide synovial au cours de diverses affections rheumatismales. Gaz Méd Fr 1984; 91: 889.
  • 47
    Köhler G, Mohing W. Zur Kinetik von diclofenac-Na in Plasma und Synovialflüssigkeit. Aktuelle Rheumatol 1980; 5: 1515.
  • 48
    Liauw H, Waiter S, Lee L, Ku E. Effects of diclofenac on synovial eicosanoid product formation in arthritic patients. J Clin Pharmacol 1985; 25: 456.
  • 49
    Scott G, Rordorf C, Milosavljev S, Ferber G. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of COX189 in patients with knee or hip primary osteoarthritis. Ann Rheum Dis 2002; 61 Suppl 1: 128 Abstract THU0233.
  • 50
    Scott G, Rordorf C, Reynolds C, Kalbag J, Looby M, Milosavljev S, et al. Pharmacokinetics of lumiracoxib in plasma and synovial fluid. Pharmacokinet 2004; 43: 46778.
  • 51
    McKenna F, Borenstein D, Wendt H, Wallemark C, Lefkowith JB, Geis GS. Celecoxib versus diclofenac in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee. Scand J Rheumatol 2001; 30: 118.


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  7. Acknowledgements


In Belgium: Dr. P. Geusens (Diepenbeek); Dr. M. Malaise (Liege); Dr. F. Raeman (Merksem); and Dr. W. Verdickt (Turnhout). In Denmark: Dr. T. Aaboe (Copenhagen NV); Dr. J. Beier (Odense C); Dr. H. Bliddak (Frederiksberg); Dr. E. Gustavsen (Aarhus C); and Dr. H. H. Ibfelt (Hilleroed). In Hungary: Dr. G. Genti (Kistarcsa); Dr. G. Poór (Budapest); Dr. F. Szanyo (Gyor); and Dr. L. Tamasi (Miskolc). In Germany: Dr. H. Grobecker (Regensburg); Dr. A. Rump (Freiburg); Dr. E. Schell (Nuernberg); Dr. H. Schneider (Messkirch); and Dr. H. U. Wilhelm (Stuttgart). In Switzerland: Dr. A. Aeschlimann (Zurzach); Dr. F. Hasler (Chur); Dr. P. Hasler (Basel); Dr. T. Lehmann (Bern); and Dr. R. Theiler (Aarau). In the UK: Dr. G. Charlwood (Kent); Dr. J. Fraser (Wigan); Dr. J. Miller (Cheshire); Dr. S. Patel (County Durham); Dr. J. Robinson (Liverpool); Dr. M. Salman (Oxfordshire); and Dr. B. Silvert (Bolton). In the US: Dr. G. Botstein (Suwanee, GA); Dr. J. Cush (Dallas, TX); Dr. J. Ervin (Kansas City, MO); Dr. K. Fye (San Francisco, CA); Dr. M. Greenwald (Rancho Mirage, CA); Dr. E. Hurd (Dallas, TX); Dr. S. Krumholz (West Palm Beach, FL); Dr. K. Lucas (Atlanta, GA); Dr. W. Palmer (Omaha, NE); Dr. J. Perkins (Boulder, CO); Dr. J. Rosen (Coral Gables, FL); Dr. C. Saadeh (Amarillo, TX); Dr. M. Sack (Austin, TX); Dr. T. Schnitzer (Chicago, IL); Dr. L. Taber (Phoenix, AZ); Dr. A. Weaver (Lincoln, NE); Dr. R. Williams (Augusta, GA); and Dr. D. Yocum (Tucson, AZ).