Superiority of the gastroduodenal safety profile of licofelone over rofecoxib, a COX-2 selective inhibitor, in dogs


Jean-Pierre Pelletier, Osteoarthritis Research Unit, University of Montreal Hospital Centre, Notre-Dame Hospital, 1560 Sherbrooke St. East, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2L 4M1. E-mail:


This study assessed the gastroduodenal safety profile of licofelone, a new nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug with dual inhibitory activity against 5-lipoxygenase and cyclo-oxygenase (COX), by using endoscopic evaluations and by comparing licofelone to rofecoxib, a selective COX-2 inhibitor. Twenty-one dogs underwent blinded gastroduodenoscopies, during which the mucosa of the gastroduodenal tract was assessed and scored. Blood analyses were monitored on days 0 (baseline), 14, 28, 42, and 56. Examinations to detect fecal occult blood were performed daily. Dogs were randomly assigned to three groups that received either a placebo, licofelone at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg twice daily, or rofecoxib at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg daily, respectively. Significant differences between the groups in gastric (P = 0.003), duodenal (P = 0.009), and gastroduodenal (P = 0.002) endoscopic lesion scores were observed at day 56. Rofecoxib-treated dogs had more lesions in all areas when compared with placebo-treated dogs, more duodenal lesions when compared with licofelone-treated dogs and more lesions than they had at baseline. In contrast to licofelone, rofecoxib was found to induce significant gastric and gastroduodenal lesions in dogs that lacked pre-existing lesions at baseline. Blood analyses and fecal examinations did not reveal abnormalities in any of the experimental groups. Treatment with licofelone was well tolerated and was shown to be safer than rofecoxib in terms of upper gastrointestinal damage. In this way, this study demonstrates the gastroduodenal safety profile of licofelone for chronic treatment.