Objective: To evaluate the short-term efficacy of celecoxib, a cyclooxygenase 2-specific inhibitor, in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Methods: The study was a 6-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 3 treatment arms: placebo, ketoprofen 100 mg twice daily, and celecoxib 100 mg twice daily. Patients who had AS according to the modified New York criteria, without peripheral synovitis and with active disease (pain > or =40 mm on a 100-mm visual analog scale [VAS] and an increase in pain of at least 30% after nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug withdrawal) were eligible for study. Primary outcome measures were change in pain intensity (VAS) and change in functional impairment (Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index [BASFI]).
Results: Of the 246 randomized patients, 76 were allocated to receive placebo, 90 ketoprofen, and 80 celecoxib. There were no statistically significant differences between treatment groups at study entry. During the 6 weeks of the study, the decrease in pain and functional impairment was greater in the active treatment groups than in the placebo group, with a trend in favor of celecoxib when the 2 active treatments were compared. The mean changes were -13 mm, -21 mm, and -27 mm (P = 0.006) for pain and 1, -6, and -12 (P = 0.0008) for BASFI score in the placebo, ketoprofen, and celecoxib groups, respectively. During treatment, the number of patients reporting epigastric pain was 6 (8%), 13 (14%), and 10 (13%) in the placebo, ketoprofen, and celecoxib groups, respectively.
Conclusion: The results of this study confirm the clinically relevant antiinflammatory effect of celecoxib at a 200-mg daily dosage, with significant improvement of both pain and function in patients with AS.