Background: Osteoarthritis of the hip or knees is a very disabling condition in both Caucasians and Africans. A lot of medical drugs have been in use with their corresponding side effects, hence the search for newer drugs with fewer side effects.
Study design: A double blind clinical trial comparing the safety and efficacy of nimesulide and diclofenac was carried out in the University College Hospital Ibadan. All patients referred to the outpatients department of the orthopaedic division with osteoarthritis of the hips and knees who met the criteria for inclusion in the study were used for the study.
Results: There were a total number of sixty-seven (67) patients. 70.6% of the nimesulide patients had only mild pain in the involved joint on completion of the eight weeks trial compared to 50% of the diclofenac group. A significant proportion of the patients in the diclofenac group (50% vs 17.6%) had break through pain that warranted the use of at least two tablets of 500mg of paracetamol per week in contrast to the nimesulide group. There was a statistically significant difference in the frequency of side effects between the patients in the diclofenac group and the nimesulide group (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Nimesulide was found to be more effective in relieving pain in osteoarthritis of the hip and knees and with less side effects than diclofenac.