Compared with ibuprofen, the use of the lumiracoxib by patients with osteoarthritis is associated with a lower risk of gastric ulcers. The risk is similar to that seen with celecoxib (Celebrex), another COX-2 inhibitor.
Lumiracoxib is “effective and it doesn’t cause ulcers,” lead investigator Dr. Christopher C. Hawkey told Reuters Health. Lumiracoxib is made by Novartis and marketed under the name Prexige. It is approved for use in the UK and Mexico but not yet in the US. Other evidence, he said, suggests that the drug is safe in terms of cardiovascular and other potential adverse effects — of note, given the recent withdrawal of Vioxx because of the risk of heart trouble. Hawkey of the University of Nottingham, UK and colleagues compared lumiracoxib with ibuprofen and celecoxib in 1024 patients with osteoarthritis. The subjects were randomly assigned to receive 200 or 400 milligrams of lumiracoxib once daily, 800 milligrams of ibuprofen three times a day, or 200 milligrams of celecoxib once daily for a total of 13 weeks. The rate of stomach ulcers was 4.3 percent in the low-dose lumiracoxib group and 4.0 percent in the high-dose group, according to the report in the Journal of Rheumatology. The ulcer rate in the ibuprofen group was 15.7 percent and in the celecoxib group, 3.2 percent. The researchers conclude that lumiracoxib is “a well- tolerated alternative to standard non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.” (Source: Reuters, Journal of Rheumatology, Oct 2004)