Nabumetone: a "nonacidic" nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug

Ann Pharmacother. 1993 Apr;27(4):456-63. doi: 10.1177/106002809302700413.


Objective: To review the pharmacology, pharmacokinetic disposition, dosage recommendations, adverse effects, drug interactions, and efficacy of nabumetone in patients with selected rheumatic disorders and soft-tissue injuries.

Data sources: Data from scientific literature were extracted, evaluated, and summarized for presentation. A MEDLINE search was conducted using the following indexing terms: antiinflammatory agents, nonsteroidal, nabumetone, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and osteoarthritis (OA). Studies evaluating nabumetone reported in articles, abstracts, or proceedings involving human subjects were considered for inclusion.

Study selection: Special consideration was given to clinical studies using double-blind, randomized, parallel, controlled designs. Studies comparing the effectiveness and safety of nabumetone with placebo and other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were included.

Data extraction: Data from human studies published in the English language were evaluated. Trials were assessed according to study design, sample size, and description of outcomes.

Data synthesis: Nabumetone is a nonacidic prodrug that is metabolized to an active nonsteroidal antiinflammatory moiety, 6-methoxy-2-naphthylacetic acid (6-MNA). 6-MNA is a structural analog of naproxen. Like naproxen and other NSAIDs, 6-MNA possesses analgesic, antipyretic, and antiinflammatory activity, 6-MNA has a prolonged elimination half-life, ranging from 17 to 74 hours, which allows for once-daily dosing. The efficacy of nabumetone for treating symptoms of RA and OA has been established in controlled clinical trials. Nabumetone also has been studied in ankylosing spondylitis and soft-tissue injuries. Adverse effects associated with nabumetone are similar to those associated with other NSAIDs. Gastrointestinal reactions occur most frequently in the form of abdominal pain or indigestion, nausea, or vomiting. Central nervous system adverse effects occur less frequently, and are followed in order of occurrence by rashes.

Conclusions: Nabumetone is a prodrug metabolized to an active metabolite structurally related to naproxen. Studies have demonstrated the efficacy of nabumetone, but no advantages over the many other NSAIDs now available.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal* / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal* / pharmacokinetics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal* / pharmacology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Butanones* / adverse effects
  • Butanones* / pharmacokinetics
  • Butanones* / pharmacology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Nabumetone
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Butanones
  • Nabumetone