Etoricoxib: a highly selective COX-2 inhibitor

Ann Pharmacother. 2005 May;39(5):854-62. doi: 10.1345/aph.1E543. Epub 2005 Apr 12.


Objective: To review the available literature evaluating the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, clinical efficacy, and adverse effects of etoricoxib, a highly selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor that is not currently approved for use in the US.

Data sources: Literature retrieval was accessed through MEDLINE (1966-December 2004), Current Contents (1998-December 2004), and Cochrane Library (4th quarter 2004). References from retrieved articles, information from the manufacturer, and abstracts from the American College of Rheumatology and Annual European Congress of Rheumatology meetings were searched.

Study selection and data extraction: All clinical trials published in English evaluating etoricoxib were included in this review. An abstract was excluded if it presented preliminary data from trials that are now published, analyzed data previously reported in a published clinical trial, or compared etoricoxib with placebo for an indication with published active-comparator controlled trials.

Data synthesis: Twelve clinical trials evaluating efficacy were reviewed. Efficacy for acute pain has been evaluated in acute gout, primary dysmenorrhea, and dental surgery and for chronic pain in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and chronic lower back pain. For safety, 3 clinical trials and 6 retrospective analyses of gastrointestinal, renovascular, or cardiovascular adverse effects were reviewed.

Conclusions: Available studies demonstrate the efficacy of etoricoxib compared with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, but no published studies to date have compared etoricoxib with other selective COX-2 inhibitors. While these agents have demonstrated a significant reduction in gastrointestinal adverse effects, the cardiovascular adverse effects of selective COX-2 inhibition are not well defined. Further study is necessary to delineate the benefits and risks of etoricoxib compared with alternative treatment regimens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthritis / drug therapy*
  • Biological Availability
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors* / adverse effects
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors* / pharmacokinetics
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors* / therapeutic use
  • Dysmenorrhea / drug therapy*
  • Etoricoxib
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pyridines* / adverse effects
  • Pyridines* / pharmacokinetics
  • Pyridines* / therapeutic use
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Stomach Ulcer / chemically induced*
  • Sulfones* / adverse effects
  • Sulfones* / pharmacokinetics
  • Sulfones* / therapeutic use


  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Pyridines
  • Sulfones
  • Etoricoxib