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Examination of the Effect of Increasing Doses of Etoricoxib on Oral Methotrexate Pharmacokinetics in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis


Address for correspondence: Nancy G. B. Agrawal, PhD, Merck Research Laboratories, PO Box 4, Sumneytown Pike, West Point, PA 19486; e-mail:


The authors designed 2 randomized controlled studies to examine the effects of etoricoxib 60 to 120 mg daily on methotrexate pharmacokinetics in 50 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients on stable doses of methotrexate (7.5–20 mg). Patients received oral methotrexate at baseline and on days 7 and 14. In study 1, patients received etoricoxib 60 mg (days 1–7) and then 120 mg (days 8–14); in study 2, patients received etoricoxib 90 mg (days 1–7) and then 120 mg (days 8–14). For study 1, the AUC0-∞ geometric mean ratio (GMR) (90% confidence interval [CI]) for day 7 versus baseline was 1.01 (0.91, 1.12) for etoricoxib 60 mg; the area under the plasma concentration-time curve from zero to infinity (AUC0-∞) GMR (90% CI) for day 14 was 1.28 (1.15, 1.42) for etoricoxib 120 mg. For study 2, the AUC0-∞ GMR (90% CI) for day 7 versus baseline was 1.07 (1.01, 1.13) for etoricoxib 90 mg; the AUC0-∞ GMR (90% CI) for day 14 was 1.05 (0.99, 1.11) for etoricoxib 120 mg. In summary, etoricoxib 60 and 90 mg had no effect on methotrexate plasma concentrations. Although no effect on methotrexate pharmacokinetics was observed with etoricoxib 120 mg in study 2, GMR AUC0-∞ fell outside the prespecified bounds in study 1. Standard monitoring of methotrexate-related toxicity should be continued when etoricoxib and methotrexate are administered concurrently, especially with doses >90 mg etoricoxib.