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Summary

Background

Although nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely prescribed globally, their chronic use increases the risk of upper gastrointestinal (GI) damage. Cyclooxygenase-2–selective NSAIDs are considered to reduce this risk. Current guidelines in Japan recommend loxoprofen sodium (loxoprofen), a pro-drug in the propionic acid class of nonselective NSAIDs, as first-line therapy in rheumatoid arthritis.

Aim

To confirm the superiority of celecoxib, a cyclooxygenase-2-selective NSAID, to loxoprofen in the incidence of gastroduodenal (GD) endoscopic ulcers.

Methods

A randomised, multicentre, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase IV clinical trial in healthy Japanese volunteers [mean age 57.5 (range: 40–74) years; >70% female], stratified by Helicobacter pylori status at screening (∼40% positive) and randomised 2:2:1 to receive celecoxib 100 mg b.d., loxoprofen 60 mg t.d.s. or placebo. Primary end point was incidence of any GD endoscopic ulcers after 2 weeks of treatment.

Results

Of 190 randomised subjects, 189 received at least one dose of celecoxib (n = 76), loxoprofen (n = 76), or placebo (n = 37). Incidence of GD ulcers was 1.4%, 27.6% and 2.7% in the celecoxib, loxoprofen and placebo groups respectively (P < 0.0001 in favour of the celecoxib group); incidence of adverse events (AEs) was 34.2%, 51.3% and 21.6% in the celecoxib, loxoprofen and placebo groups respectively. No serious or severe AEs were reported.

Conclusions

Celecoxib 100 mg b.d. was superior to loxoprofen 60 mg t.d.s. regarding the incidence of gastro-duodenal endoscopic ulcers over 2 weeks. Celecoxib was well tolerated and no major safety concerns were observed. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00994461.