Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and upper gastrointestinal (UGI) safety of celecoxib, compared with nonspecific nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), among patients with osteoarthritis.
Methods: A total of 13274 osteoarthritis patients from 39 countries were randomly assigned to double-blind treatment with either celecoxib 100 mg twice daily (BID), celecoxib 200 mg BID, or nonselective NSAID therapy (diclofenac 50 mg BID or naproxen 500 mg BID) for 12 weeks. Standard validated measures were used to assess osteoarthritis efficacy. Serious UGI events were evaluated by 2 blinded, independent, gastrointestinal events committees.
Results: Results from all primary efficacy assessments showed that both dosages of celecoxib were as effective as NSAIDs in treating osteoarthritis. Significantly more ulcer complications occurred within the nonselective NSAID group (0.8/100 patient-years) compared with the celecoxib group (0.1/100 patient-years) (odds ratio = 7.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.46 to 33.80; P =.008). There were fewer ulcer complications in the celecoxib group compared with the NSAID group, both in patients taking concomitant aspirin and those not taking aspirin, but the difference reached statistical significance only in the latter comparison. The number of cardiovascular thromboembolic events was low and not statistically different between the groups (eg, myocardial infarction rates: celecoxib 10 events [0.55/100 patient-years] vs NSAIDs 1 event [0.11/100 patient-years], (P =.11), but the study was not powered to detect such differences.
Conclusions: In the treatment of osteoarthritis, celecoxib is as effective as the nonspecific NSAIDs naproxen and diclofenac, but has significantly fewer serious upper gastrointestinal events.