Etoricoxib (Arcoxia, Merck & Co., Inc.) is a selective inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), an enzyme involved in pain and inflammation. It is a member of the COX-2-selective (coxib) class of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Extensive clinical trials have confirmed its analgesic and antiinflammatory efficacy to be at least as good as and in some cases superior to nonselective NSAIDs in a number of disease and patient treatment settings. Etoricoxib displays improved gastrointestinal safety compared with nonselective NSAIDs and has a favorable overall safety and tolerability profile. It is rapidly and completely absorbed following oral administration providing a rapid onset of action. Its long plasma half-life allows for once-daily dosing. Etoricoxib is currently approved in a number of countries for various indications including the treatment of acute pain, acute gouty arthritis, chronic low back pain, primary dysmenorrhea, and chronic treatment for the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In countries where it is approved, the highest recommended daily dose for chronic use is 90 mg for rheumatoid arthritis and 60 mg for osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain. The recommended daily dose for acute pain relief treatment from primary dysmenorrhea and acute gouty arthritis is 120 mg. This review summarizes the published preclinical and clinical data relevant to the use of etoricoxib in clinical practice.
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