Celecoxib, a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, reduces level of a bone resorption marker in postmenopausal women with rheumatoid arthritis




Celecoxib (CEL), a selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor, has been reported to suppress osteoclastogenesis in vitro, reduce levels of bone resorption markers in ovariectomized (OVX) mice, and prevent bone destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) model mice; however, no clinical data has been reported. Here, we prospectively evaluated the changes in bone turnover markers in RA patients who switched from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to CEL, to examine the effects of selective COX-2 inhibitor on bone metabolism.


RA patients who had been treated with NSAIDs for more than 12 weeks were switched to CEL (400 mg/day) without any other changes in previously prescribed medications. Urinary type I collagen cross-linked N-telopeptide (uNTX), serum bone alkaline phosphatase (BAP), C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) were evaluated before switching to CEL and 16 weeks later.


Significant reductions in uNTX, a bone resorption marker, were observed in 60 female patients (= 0.042), especially in 52 postmenopausal women (= 0.033). However, uNTX level did not significantly change in premenopausal women or in men. There were no significant changes in BAP, a bone formation marker. CRP significantly decreased (= 0.007), while ESR and MMP-3 were unchanged.


CEL reduced the levels of a bone resorption marker in postmenopausal RA patients, suggesting that this drug may attenuate the accelerated osteoclastic bone resorption associated with menopause.