Clinical trial: comparison of ibuprofen-phosphatidylcholine and ibuprofen on the gastrointestinal safety and analgesic efficacy in osteoarthritic patients


Dr L. M. Lichtenberger, Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, 6431 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Background  Chronic use of NSAIDs is associated with gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity that increases with age.

Aim  To evaluate the GI safety and therapeutic efficacy of ibuprofen chemically associated with phosphatidylcholine (PC) in osteoarthritic (OA) patients.

Methods  A randomized, double-blind trial of 125 patients was performed. A dose of 2400 mg/day of ibuprofen or an equivalent dose of ibuprofen-PC was administered for 6 weeks. GI safety was assessed by endoscopy. Efficacy was assessed by scores of analgesia and anti-inflammatory activity. Bioavailability of ibuprofen was pharmacokinetically assessed.

Results  Ibuprofen-PC and ibuprofen provided similar bioavailability/therapeutic efficacy. In the evaluable subjects, a trend for improved GI safety in the ibuprofen-PC group compared with ibuprofen that did not reach statistical significance was observed. However, in patients aged >55 years, a statistically significant advantage for ibuprofen-PC treatment vs. ibuprofen in the prevention of NSAID-induced gut injury was observed with increases in both mean Lanza scores and the risk of developing >2 erosions or an ulcer. Ibuprofen-PC was well tolerated with no major adverse events observed.

Conclusion  Ibuprofen-PC is an effective osteoarthritic agent with an improved GI safety profile compared with ibuprofen in older OA patients, who are most susceptible to NSAID-induced gastroduodenal injury.