A study from Merck Laboratories has shown cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor etoricoxib (Arcoxia) to be as effective as ibuprofen for treating pain associated with arthritis. The 12-week study included 528 patients being treated for arthritis of the hip and knee and compared Arcoxia with ibuprofen and placebo.
It took about 2 weeks for Arcoxia and ibuprofen to achieve maximum effectiveness, with symptom control lasting for another 10 weeks. Both drugs performed better than placebo and generally were well tolerated. Arcoxia is a new COX-2 inhibitor and, as such, has been scrutinized by the FDA along with Vioxx and other members of that class of drugs for a possible link to heart attack and stroke.