Etoricoxib (MK-0663): preclinical profile and comparison with other agents that selectively inhibit cyclooxygenase-2.
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We report here the preclinical profile of etoricoxib (MK-0663) [5-chloro-2-(6-methylpyridin-3-yl)-3-(4-methylsulfonylphenyl) pyridine], a novel orally active agent that selectively inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), that has been developed for high selectivity in vitro using whole blood assays and sensitive COX-1 enzyme assays at low substrate concentration. Etoricoxib selectively inhibited COX-2 in human whole blood assays in vitro, with an IC(50) value of 1.1 +/- 0.1 microM for COX-2 (LPS-induced prostaglandin E2 synthesis), compared with an IC(50) value of 116 +/- 8 microM for COX-1 (serum thromboxane B2 generation after clotting of the blood). Using the ratio of IC(50) values (COX-1/COX-2), the selectivity ratio for the inhibition of COX-2 by etoricoxib in the human whole blood assay was 106, compared with values of 35, 30, 7.6, 7.3, 2.4, and 2.0 for rofecoxib, valdecoxib, celecoxib, nimesulide, etodolac, and meloxicam, respectively. Etoricoxib did not inhibit platelet or human recombinant COX-1 under most assay conditions (IC(50) > 100 microM). In a highly sensitive assay for COX-1 with U937 microsomes where the arachidonic acid concentration was lowered to 0.1 microM, IC(50) values of 12, 2, 0.25, and 0.05 microM were obtained for etoricoxib, rofecoxib, valdecoxib, and celecoxib, respectively. These differences in potency were in agreement with the dissociation constants (K(i)) for binding to COX-1 as estimated from an assay based on the ability of the compounds to delay the time-dependent inhibition by indomethacin. Etoricoxib was a potent inhibitor in models of carrageenan-induced paw edema (ID(50) = 0.64 mg/kg), carrageenan-induced paw hyperalgesia (ID(50) = 0.34 mg/kg), LPS-induced pyresis (ID(50) = 0.88 mg/kg), and adjuvant-induced arthritis (ID(50) = 0.6 mg/kg/day) in rats, without effects on gastrointestinal permeability up to a dose of 200 mg/kg/day for 10 days. In squirrel monkeys, etoricoxib reversed LPS-induced pyresis by 81% within 2 h of administration at a dose of 3 mg/kg and showed no effect in a fecal 51Cr excretion model of gastropathy at 100 mg/kg/day for 5 days, in contrast to lower doses of diclofenac or naproxen. In summary, etoricoxib represents a novel agent that selectively inhibits COX-2 with 106-fold selectivity in human whole blood assays in vitro and with the lowest potency of inhibition of COX-1 compared with other reported selective agents.
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