|Pharmacotherapeutic group: Anti-inflammatory and antirheumatic products, non-steroids, coxibs, ATC Code: MO1 AH05|
Mechanism of ActionEtoricoxib is an oral, selective cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor within the clinical dose range. Across clinical pharmacology studies, ARCOXIA produced dose-dependent inhibition of COX-2 without inhibition of COX-1 at doses up to 150 mg daily. Etoricoxib did not inhibit gastric prostaglandin synthesis and had no effect on platelet function.Cyclooxygenase is responsible for generation of prostaglandins. Two isoforms, COX-1 and COX-2, have been identified. COX-2 is the isoform of the enzyme that has been shown to be induced by pro-inflammatory stimuli and has been postulated to be primarily responsible for the synthesis of prostanoid mediators of pain, inflammation, and fever. COX-2 is also involved in ovulation, implantation and closure of the ductus arteriosus, regulation of renal function, and central nervous system functions (fever induction, pain perception and cognitive function). It may also play a role in ulcer healing. COX-2 has been identified in tissue around gastric ulcers in man but its relevance to ulcer healing has not been established.
Clinical efficacy and safety
EfficacyIn patients with osteoarthritis (OA), etoricoxib 60 mg once daily provided significant improvements in pain and patient assessments of disease status. These beneficial effects were observed as early as the second day of therapy and maintained for up to 52 weeks. Studies with etoricoxib 30 mg once daily demonstrated efficacy superior to placebo over a 12 week treatment period (using similar assessments as the above studies). In a dose ranging study, etoricoxib 60 mg demonstrated significantly greater improvement than 30 mg for all 3 primary endpoints over 6 weeks of treatment. The 30 mg dose has not been studied in osteoarthritis of hands. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), etoricoxib 90 mg once daily provided significant improvements in pain, inflammation, and mobility. These beneficial effects were maintained over the 12-week treatment periods.In patients experiencing attacks of acute gouty arthritis, etoricoxib 120 mg once daily over an eight-day treatment period, relieved moderate to extreme joint pain and inflammation comparable to indomethacin 50 mg three times daily. Pain relief was observed as early as four hours after initiation of treatment.In patients with ankylosing spondylitis, etoricoxib 90 mg once daily provided significant improvements in spine pain, inflammation, stiffness and function. The clinical benefit of etoricoxib was observed as early as the second day of therapy after initiation of treatment and was maintained throughout the 52-week treatment period. In a clinical study evaluating postoperative dental pain, etoricoxib 90 mg was administered once daily for up to three days. In the subgroup of patients with moderate pain at baseline, etoricoxib 90 mg demonstrated a similar analgesic effect to that of ibuprofen 600 mg (16.11 vs. 16.39; P=0.722), and greater than that of paracetamol/codeine 600 mg/60 mg (11.00; P<0.001) and placebo (6.84; P<0.001) as measured by total pain relief over the first 6 hours (TOPAR6). The proportion of patients reporting rescue medication usage within the first 24 hours of dosing was 40.8% for etoricoxib 90 mg, 25.5% for ibuprofen 600 mg Q6h, and 46.7% for paracetamol/codeine 600 mg/60 mg Q6h compared to 76.2% for placebo. In this study, the median onset of action (perceptible pain relief) of 90 mg etoricoxib was 28 minutes after dosing.
Multinational Etoricoxib and Diclofenac Arthritis Long-term (MEDAL) ProgrammeThe MEDAL Programme was a prospectively designed Cardiovascular (CV) Safety Outcomes Programme of pooled data from three randomized, double-blind active comparator controlled trials, the MEDAL study, EDGE II and EDGE. The MEDAL Study, was an endpoint driven CV Outcomes study in 17,804 OA and 5,700 RA patients treated with etoricoxib 60 (OA) or 90 mg (OA and RA) or diclofenac 150 mg daily for a mean period of 20.3 months (maximum of 42.3 months, median 21.3 months). In this trial, only serious adverse events and discontinuations due to any adverse events were recorded.The EDGE and EDGE II studies compared the gastrointestinal tolerability of etoricoxib versus diclofenac. The EDGE study included 7111 OA patients treated with a dose of etoricoxib 90 mg daily (1.5 times the dose recommended for OA) or diclofenac 150 mg daily for a mean period of 9.1 months (maximum 16.6 months, median 11.4 months). The EDGE II study included 4086 RA patients treated with etoricoxib 90 mg daily or diclofenac 150 mg daily for a mean period of 19.2 months (maximum 33.1 months, median 24 months). In the pooled MEDAL Programme, 34,701 patients with OA or RA were treated for a mean duration of 17.9 months (maximum 42.3 months, median 16.3 months) with approximately 12,800 patients receiving treatment for more than 24 months. Patients enrolled in the Programme had a wide range of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risk factors at baseline. Patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass grafting or percutaneous coronary intervention within 6 months preceding enrollment were excluded. Use of gastroprotective agents and low dose aspirin were permitted in the studies. Overall Safety: There was no significant difference between etoricoxib and diclofenac in the rate of cardiovascular thrombotic events. Cardiorenal adverse events were observed more frequently with etoricoxib than with diclofenac, and this effect was dose-dependent (see specific results below). Gastrointestinal and hepatic adverse events were observed significantly more frequently with diclofenac than etoricoxib. The incidence of adverse experiences in EDGE and EDGE II and of adverse experiences considered serious or resulting in discontinuation in the MEDAL study was higher with etoricoxib than diclofenac. Cardiovascular safety results: The rate of confirmed thrombotic cardiovascular serious adverse events (consisting of cardiac, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular events) was comparable between etoricoxib and diclofenac, and data are summarized in the table below. There were no statistically significant differences in thrombotic event rates between etoricoxib and diclofenac across all subgroups analyzed including patient categories across a range of baseline cardiovascular risk. When considered separately, the relative risks for confirmed thrombotic cardiovascular serious adverse events with etoricoxib 60 mg or 90 mg compared with diclofenac 150mg were similar.
CV mortality, as well as overall mortality, was similar between the etoricoxib and diclofenac treatment groups. Cardiorenal Events: Approximately 50% of patients enrolled in the MEDAL study had a history of hypertension at baseline. In the study, the incidence of discontinuations due to hypertension-related adverse events was statistically significantly higher for etoricoxib than for diclofenac. The incidence of congestive heart failure adverse events (discontinuations and serious events) occurred at similar rates on etoricoxib 60 mg compared to diclofenac 150 mg but was higher for etoricoxib 90 mg compared to diclofenac 150 mg (statistically significant for 90 mg etoricoxib vs. 150 mg diclofenac in MEDAL OA cohort). The incidence of confirmed congestive heart failure adverse events (events that were serious and resulted in hospitalisation or a visit to an emergency department) was non-significantly higher with etoricoxib than diclofenac 150 mg, and this effect was dose-dependent. The incidence of discontinuations due to edema-related adverse events was higher for etoricoxib than diclofenac 150 mg, and this effect was dose-dependent (statistically significant for etoricoxib 90 mg, but not for etoricoxib 60 mg).The cardiorenal results for EDGE and EDGE II were consistent with those described for the MEDAL Study.In the individual MEDAL Programme studies, for etoricoxib (60 mg or 90 mg), the absolute incidence of discontinuation in any treatment group was up to 2.6% for hypertension, up to 1.9% for oedema, and up to 1.1% for congestive heart failure, with higher rates of discontinuation observed with etoricoxib 90 mg than etoricoxib 60 mg. MEDAL Programme Gastrointestinal Tolerability Results: A significantly lower rate of discontinuations of treatment for any clinical (e.g., dyspepsia, abdominal pain, ulcer) GI adverse event was observed with etoricoxib compared with diclofenac within each of the three component studies of the MEDAL Programme. The rates of discontinuations due to adverse clinical GI events per hundred patient-years over the entire period of study were as follows: 3.23 for etoricoxib and 4.96 for diclofenac in the MEDAL Study; 9.12 with etoricoxib and 12.28 with diclofenac in the EDGE study; and 3.71 with etoricoxib and 4.81 with diclofenac in the EDGE II study.MEDAL Programme Gastrointestinal Safety Results: Overall upper GI events were defined as perforations, ulcers and bleeds. The subset of overall upper GI events considered complicated included perforations, obstructions, and complicated bleeding; the subset of upper GI events considered uncomplicated included uncomplicated bleeds and uncomplicated ulcers. A significantly lower rate of overall upper GI events was observed with etoricoxib compared to diclofenac. There was no significant difference between etoricoxib and diclofenac in the rate of complicated events. For the subset of upper GI haemorrhage events (complicated and uncomplicated combined), there was no significant difference between etoricoxib and diclofenac. The upper GI benefit for etoricoxib compared with diclofenac was not statistically significant in patients taking concomitant low-dose aspirin (approximately 33% of patients). The rates per hundred patient-years of confirmed complicated and uncomplicated upper GI clinical events (perforations, ulcers and bleeds (PUBs)) were 0.67 (95% CI 0.57, 0.77) with etoricoxib and 0.97 (95% CI 0.85, 1.10) with diclofenac, yielding a relative risk of 0.69 (95% CI 0.57, 0.83). The rate for confirmed upper GI events in elderly patients was evaluated and the largest reduction was observed in patients ≥ 75 years of age (1.35 [95% CI 0.94, 1.87] vs. 2.78 [95% CI 2.14, 3.56] events per hundred patient-years for etoricoxib and diclofenac, respectively. The rates of confirmed lower GI clinical events (small or large bowel perforation, obstruction, or haemorrhage, (POBs)) were not significantly different between etoricoxib and diclofenac.MEDAL Programme Hepatic Safety Results: Etoricoxib was associated with a statistically significantly lower rate of discontinuations due to hepatic-related adverse experiences than diclofenac. In the pooled MEDAL Programme, 0.3% of patients on etoricoxib and 2.7% of patients on diclofenac discontinued due to hepatic-related adverse experiences. The rate per hundred patient-years was 0.22 on etoricoxib and 1.84 for diclofenac (p-value was <0.001 for etoricoxib vs. diclofenac). However, most hepatic adverse experiences in the MEDAL Programme were non-serious.
|Table 2: Rates of Confirmed Thrombotic CV Events (Pooled MEDAL Programme)|
||Between Treatment Comparison|
(95% CI)||Relative Risk (95% CI)
|Confirmed Thrombotic Cardiovascular Serious Adverse Events
||1.24 (1.11, 1.38)
||1.30 (1.17, 1.45)
||0.95 (0.81, 1.11)
||1.25 (1.14, 1.36)
||1.19 (1.08, 1.30)
||1.05 (0.93, 1.19)
|Confirmed Cardiac Events
||0.71 (0.61, 0.82)
||0.78 (0.68, 0.90)
||0.90 (0.74, 1.10)
||0.69 (0.61, 0.78)
||0.70 (0.62, 0.79)
||0.99 (0.84, 1.17)
|Confirmed Cerebrovascular Events
||0.34 (0.28, 0.42)
||0.32 (0.25, 0.40)
||1.08 (0.80, 1.46)
||0.33 (0.28, 0.39)
||0.29 (0.24, 0.35)
||1.12 (0.87, 1.44)
|Confirmed Peripheral Vascular Events
||0.20 (0.15, 0.27)
||0.22 (0.17, 0.29)
||0.92 (0.63, 1.35)
||0.24 (0.20, 0.30)
||0.23 (0.18, 0.28)
||1.08 (0.81, 1.44)
|Events per 100 Patient-Years; CI=confidence interval
N=total number of patients included in Per-protocol population
Per-protocol: all events on study therapy or within 14 days of discontinuation (excluded: patients who took < 75% of their study medication or took non-study NSAIDs >10% of the time).
Intent-to-treat: all confirmed events up to the end of the trial (included patients potentially exposed to non-study interventions following discontinuation of study medication). Total number of patients randomised, n= 17412 on etoricoxib and 17289 on diclofenac.
Additional Thrombotic Cardiovascular Safety DataIn clinical studies excluding the MEDAL Programme Studies, approximately 3100 patients were treated with etoricoxib ≥60 mg daily for 12 weeks or longer. There was no discernible difference in the rate of confirmed serious thrombotic cardiovascular events between patients receiving etoricoxib ≥60 mg, placebo, or non-naproxen NSAIDs. However, the rate of these events was higher in patients receiving etoricoxib compared with those receiving naproxen 500 mg twice daily. The difference in antiplatelet activity between some COX-1 inhibiting NSAIDs and selective COX-2 inhibitors may be of clinical significance in patients at risk of thrombo-embolic events. Selective COX-2 inhibitors reduce the formation of systemic (and therefore possibly endothelial) prostacyclin without affecting platelet thromboxane. The clinical relevance of these observations has not been established.
Additional Gastrointestinal Safety DataIn two 12-week double-blind endoscopy studies, the cumulative incidence of gastroduodenal ulceration was significantly lower in patients treated with etoricoxib 120 mg once daily than in patients treated with either naproxen 500 mg twice daily or ibuprofen 800 mg three times daily. Etoricoxib had a higher incidence of ulceration as compared to placebo.
Renal Function Study in the ElderlyA randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study evaluated the effects of 15 days of treatment of etoricoxib (90 mg), celecoxib (200 mg bid), naproxen (500 mg bid) and placebo on urinary sodium excretion, blood pressure, and other renal function parameters in subjects 60 to 85 years of age on a 200-mEq/day sodium diet. Etoricoxib, celecoxib, and naproxen had similar effects on urinary sodium excretion over the 2 weeks of treatment. All active comparators showed an increase relative to placebo with respect to systolic blood pressures; however, etoricoxib was associated with a statistically significant increase at Day 14 when compared to celecoxib and naproxen (mean change from baseline for systolic blood pressure: etoricoxib 7.7 mmHg, celecoxib 2.4 mmHg, naproxen 3.6 mmHg).