A Review of the Efficacy, Safety, and Cost-Effectiveness of COX-2 Inhibitors for Africa and the Middle East Region


  • Valdecoxib is no longer available worldwide.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Anwar Z. Zeidan, MD, Anesthesiology Department, Dallah Hospital, PO Box 87833, Riyadh 11652, Saudi Arabia. E-mail: anwar_zeidan@yahoo.com.


Abstract:  Despite an increasingly sophisticated understanding of pain mechanisms, acute and chronic pain remain undertreated throughout the world. This situation reflects the large gap that exists between evidence and practice in pain management and is typified by inappropriate use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The scientific evidence around these drugs continues to expand at a high rate, yet physicians are often unaware of best practice. To address this gap among physicians in Africa and the Middle East, an Expert Panel meeting was convened with representatives from the region. The principal objective of the meeting was to review the latest guidelines on the management of acute and chronic pain and to review the efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors in these settings. The main outcome of this review process was a number of consensus statements concerning the definitions of acute and chronic pain, and the efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness of traditional nonselective NSAIDs (nsNSAIDs) and selective COX-2 inhibitors (coxibs). The panel agreed that nsNSAIDs and coxibs are effective analgesics with similar efficacy for acute pain; for chronic musculoskeletal pain, NSAIDs are significantly more effective than either placebo or paracetamol. Coxibs offer important safety advantages over nsNSAIDs, including gastrointestinal safety and preservation of platelet function; notably, the cardiovascular safety of coxibs has been the subject of much recent debate. Furthermore, the panel agreed there is substantial evidence to indicate that cost savings can be achieved by using celecoxib in patients at moderate to high risk of gastrointestinal adverse events, even in countries with moderate healthcare expenditures.