An open-label trial of the selective cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitor, rofecoxib, in inflammatory bowel disease-associated peripheral arthritis and arthralgia
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BACKGROUND: Conventional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been associated with an increased risk of exacerbation of inflammatory bowel disease. AIM: To evaluate, in a prospective, open-label study, the safety and efficacy of a 20-day regimen of the selective cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitor, rofecoxib, 12.5-25 mg/day, in inflammatory bowel disease patients with associated peripheral arthropathy and/or arthritis. METHODS: Patients with clinically inactive to mild inflammatory bowel disease and a joint pain score of at least two points on a scale ranging from zero (none) to four (very poor) were eligible. Response was defined by a decrease of at least two points in the arthralgia score. RESULTS: Of the 32 patients included, 26 (81%) were treated with rofecoxib, 25 mg/day, and six (19%) with rofecoxib, 12.5 mg/day. In three patients (9%), rofecoxib had to be withdrawn after a few days due to gastrointestinal complaints which ceased immediately after drug discontinuation. No flare of inflammatory bowel disease occurred. Thirteen of the 32 patients (41%) were responders and, overall, the arthralgia score decreased from two to one (P = 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: This is the first prospective study on the use of a selective cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitor in inflammatory bowel disease patients with peripheral arthropathy and/or arthralgia. The promising safety and efficacy profile warrants further evaluation in controlled trials.
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