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Clin Ther. 2004 May;26(5):667-79.

Etoricoxib in acute pain associated with dental surgery: a randomized, double-blind, placebo- and active comparator-controlled dose-ranging study.

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Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, New Jersey, USA.



Patients experiencing acute pain after surgery, including dental surgery, often require analgesia. Ideally, the chosen analgesic should have a rapid onset and sustained effect. Etoricoxib is a new cyclooxygenase-2-selective inhibitor that has demonstrated analgesic efficacy in the treatment of acute pain with a rapid onset and long-lasting pain relief.


The goal of this study was to determine the analgesic effect of single oral doses of etoricoxib 60, 120, 180, and 240 mg compared with placebo in the treatment of pain after dental surgery. Ibuprofen was used as an active control.


This was a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, single-dose, placebo- and active comparator-controlled study performed at a single center. It consisted of 3 visits (prestudy, treatment, and poststudy). Eligible patients were aged > or =16 years with moderate or severe pain after surgical extraction of > or =2 third molars, of which > or =1 was an impacted mandibular molar. Patients were assessed over 24 hours and reported pain intensity and pain relied at 14 predefined time points. Plasma samples for a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic analysis were collected from a subset of patients at baseline and the 14 predefined time points. The end points included total pain relief over 8 hours (TOPAR8, the primary end point), sum of pain intensity difference over 8 hours, patient's global evaluation of treatment, median time to onset of pain relief (2-stopwatch method), peak pain relief, and duration of analgesic effect (median time to use of rescue medication). Adverse events were collected up to 14 days postdose.


Three hundred ninety-eight (63.1% women, 36.9% men; mean age, 21.1 years; 72.1% white, 27.9% other; mean number of third molars removed, 3.5; 65.2% experiencing moderate pain) were randomly allocated to receive etoricoxib 60 mg (n = 75), etoricoxib 120 mg (n = 76), etoricoxib 180 mg (n = 74), etoricoxib 240 mg (n = 76), ibuprofen 400 mg (n = 48), and placebo (n = 49). All active treatments had significantly greater overall analgesic effect (TOPAR8) compared with placebo (P < or 0.001). Patients who received etoricoxib 120 and 180 mg had significantly higher TOPAR8 scores than those who received etoricoxib 60 mg ( P < = 0.001) and ibuprofen (P < 0.05 etoricoxib 120 mg; P < or = 0.001 etoricoxib 180 mg). Least-squares mean TOPAR8 scores for etoricoxib 60, 120, 180, and 240 mg, ibuprofen, and placebo were 16.0, 22.0, 23.5, 20.7, 18.6, and 5.2, respectively. The median time to onset of analgesia was 24 minutes for etoricoxib 120, 180, and 240 mg, and 30 minutes for etoricoxib 60 mg and ibuprofen. There were no significant differences in the onset of analgesia between etoricoxib 120, 180, and 240 mg and ibuprofen. The duration of analgesic effect was >24 hours for etoricoxib 120, 180, and 240 mg, and 12.1 hours for etoricoxib 60 mg. The duration of effect was significantly longer with all 4 etoricoxib doses compared with ibuprofen (10.1 hours; P < 0.05 etoricoxib 60 mg; < or = 0.001etoricoxib 120, 180, and 240 mg) and compared with placebo (2.1 hours; P < = 0.001). In the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic analysis (n approximately 120), there was a linear relationship between plasma etoricoxib concentrations and pain relief scores up to the maximum observed concentration, followed by a decline in plasma concentrations with persistent analgesia. The most common adverse events were postextraction alveolitis and nausea.


In this dose-ranging study, etoricoxib 120 mg was determined to be the minimum dose that had maximal efficacy in patients with moderate to severe acute pain associated with dental surgery. Both etoricoxib and ibuprofen were generally well tolerated.

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