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J Rheumatol. 1999 Nov;26(11):2438-47.

Effect of specific COX-2 inhibition in osteoarthritis of the knee: a 6 week double blind, placebo controlled pilot study of rofecoxib. Rofecoxib Osteoarthritis Pilot Study Group.

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Merck Research Laboratories, Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ 07065-0914, USA.



To determine the efficacy and safety of the cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) specific inhibitor, rofecoxib in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.


Rofecoxib, 25 mg or 125 mg once daily, was compared with placebo in a 6 week, double blind, parallel group, randomized, multicenter study of 219 patients with knee OA.


Both doses of rofecoxib produced clinically significant improvement as assessed by primary (e.g., WOMAC Pain Subscale 0-100 mm, decrease from baseline: placebo: 7.1 mm; rofecoxib 25 mg: 28.1 mm, rofecoxib 125 mg: 28.0 mm; p < 0.001 rofecoxib vs placebo) and secondary efficacy (p < 0.05) criteria compared with placebo. Clinical improvement with the 25 mg dose was similar to that with the 125 mg dose. Both rofecoxib doses were generally well tolerated.


Specific inhibition of COX-2 by 25 and 125 mg rofecoxib, administered once daily, resulted in clinically meaningful improvements in patients with OA. This study confirms that COX-2 derived prostanoids are important clinical mediators of pain and other symptoms of knee OA and that inhibition of COX-1 is not required to provide clinical benefit.

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