New arthritis drugs less likely to cause side effects

A new group of arthritis drugs recommended by NICE for patients at risk of gastrointestinal complications may be safer than traditional drugs, research in this week’s BMJ suggests.

Claims that the drugs, known as selective COX2 inhibitors, caused fewer gastrointestinal problems than traditional arthritis drugs led to an increase in their use, but the research on which they were based was criticised.

Two studies in this week’s BMJ, however, show that the risk of gastrointestinal complications associated with selective COX 2 inhibitors is lower than that associated with conventional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

In the first study researchers in Oxford reviewed all trials of the safety and effectiveness of celecoxib, a COX 2 inhibitor used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It was found to be as effective as other NSAIDs and less likely to cause problems such as ulcers.

In the second, researchers in Toronto compared the rates of upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage in elderly users of COX2 inhibitors with those of users of other NSAIDs and a group not using NSAIDs at all. They found that the risk of haemorrhage with the COX2 inhibitors was significantly lower than with conventional NSAIDs. In users of celecoxib, the risk was as similar to that of the group not using NSAIDs at all.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr Roger Jones welcomes the findings but points out that many questions remain unanswered. Neither study comments on death rates and it may not be appropriate to view COX 2 inhibitors as a homogeneous group. More research is needed before doctors can make rational decisions about the drugs, he concludes.

Media Contact

Emma Wilkinson alfa

All latest news from the category: Health and Medicine

This subject area encompasses research and studies in the field of human medicine.

Among the wide-ranging list of topics covered here are anesthesiology, anatomy, surgery, human genetics, hygiene and environmental medicine, internal medicine, neurology, pharmacology, physiology, urology and dental medicine.

Back to home

Comments (0)

Write a comment

Newest articles

The magnet trick: New invention makes vibrations disappear

TU Wien (Vienna) has patented a completely new method of dampening vibrations. This is an important step for precision devices such as high-performance astronomical telescopes. When everything shakes, precision is…

A new approach to accelerate the discovery of quantum materials

A collaboration yields a powerful combination of high-throughput computation and precise fabrication techniques to accelerate the discovery of quantum defects. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory…

New antidote for cobra bites discovered

Cheap, available drug could help reduce impact of snakebites worldwide. Scientists at the University of Sydney and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine have made a remarkable discovery: a commonly used…

Partners & Sponsors