In an international, multicenter, double-blind, randomized clinical trial we evaluated the short-term (3 months) and long-term (12 months) efficacy and safety of 2 different doses of meloxicam oral suspension compared with the efficacy and safety of naproxen oral suspension in children with oligoarticular-course (oligo-course) or polyarticular-course (poly-course) juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).
Children ages 2–16 years who had active oligo-course or poly-course JIA and who required therapy with a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug were eligible for this trial. Patients were randomly allocated to receive therapy with meloxicam oral suspension, 0.125 mg/kg body weight in a single daily dose; meloxicam oral suspension, 0.25 mg/kg body weight in a single daily dose; or naproxen, 10 mg/kg body weight in 2 daily doses. The trial drugs were administered in a double-blind, double-dummy design for up to 12 months. Response rates were determined according to the American College of Rheumatology pediatric 30% improvement criteria (ACR pediatric 30). Safety parameters were assessed by evaluating the frequency of adverse events in the 3 groups.
Of 232 patients enrolled, 225 received treatment, 6 were not eligible for randomization, and 1 randomized patient was not treated. One hundred eighty-two patients (81%) completed the 12-month treatment period. Response rates according to the ACR pediatric 30 criteria improved from month 3 to month 12, as follows: from 63% to 77% in the meloxicam 0.125 mg/kg group, from 58% to 76% in the meloxicam 0.25 mg/kg group, and from 64% to 74% in the naproxen group. No statistically significant differences in response rates were observed between the groups. There were no differences in the frequency of adverse events or abnormal laboratory values between the 3 groups.
The short- and long-term safety and efficacy of meloxicam oral suspension appear to be comparable with the safety and efficacy of naproxen oral suspension in the treatment of oligo-course and poly-course JIA. The once-daily administration of meloxicam oral suspension might represent an improvement in the treatment of JIA.