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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2003 Oct;42(10):1207-15. Epub 2003 Jun 16.

Valdecoxib is as effective as diclofenac in the management of rheumatoid arthritis with a lower incidence of gastroduodenal ulcers: results of a 26-week trial.

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Institute of Rheumatology, Prague, Czech Republic.



To compare the efficacy and upper gastrointestinal (GI) safety of valdecoxib 20 and 40 mg daily with those of diclofenac 75 mg slow release (SR) twice daily in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA).


Seven hundred and twenty-two patients with adult-onset RA were enrolled into this 26-week, randomized, multicentre, double-blind, parallel-group study (246 in the valdecoxib 20 mg daily arm, 237 in the valdecoxib 40 mg daily arm and 239 in the diclofenac 75 mg SR daily arm). Acetylsalicylic acid use (< or =325 mg per day) was similar across all groups: 5.4% in the diclofenac group, 5.7% in the valdecoxib 20 mg group and 5.9% in the valdecoxib 40 mg group. Efficacy was measured by the Patient's Assessment of Arthritis Pain [visual analogue scale (VAS)] and the modified Health Assessment Questionnaire (mHAQ) at baseline and at weeks 2, 6, 8, 12, 18 and 26 of treatment, or at early termination. Upper GI safety was evaluated by endoscopy at the end of treatment, which took place no more than 2 days after the last dose of study medication or at early termination.


Valdecoxib 20 and 40 mg daily were comparable to diclofenac 75 mg SR twice daily in treating the signs and symptoms of RA. No significant differences were observed between treatment groups with respect to mean changes from baseline in the Patient's Assessment of Arthritis Pain (VAS) or mHAQ. The incidence of gastroduodenal ulcers in patients receiving valdecoxib 20 mg daily (6%) and valdecoxib 40 mg daily (4%) was significantly lower (P < 0.001) than in patients receiving diclofenac 75 mg SR twice daily (16%). Valdecoxib 20 mg daily was also associated with significantly improved GI tolerability (P = 0.035) compared with diclofenac.


Single daily doses of valdecoxib 20 and 40 mg provided efficacy comparable to that of diclofenac, with a superior upper GI safety profile in the long-term treatment of RA patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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