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Scand J Rheumatol. 2008 Nov-Dec;37(6):469-76. doi: 10.1080/03009740802225876.

Do non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs influence chronic inflammation? The effects of piroxicam on chronic antigen-induced arthritis in rats.

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Department of Immunology, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland.



The effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on acute inflammation have been thoroughly investigated. NSAIDs are, however, also prescribed for patients with chronic inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and objective improvement suggestive of anti-inflammatory action from NSAIDs has not been convincingly shown in chronic RA. An antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) model was used to investigate the effects of piroxicam on chronic inflammation.


AIA was induced by injecting methylated bovine serum albumin (mBSA) into the knee joints of previously immunized rats that were treated orally with the NSAID piroxicam or with saline. This treatment was started either before AIA was induced or after it had reached a chronic phase. The findings were recorded by clinical and histological assessment of the joints.


The piroxicam group developed significantly less acute and subsequent chronic knee joint inflammation but this was only evident if the drug was administered prior to the intra-articular mBSA injections. Piroxicam treatment that was initiated during the chronic inflammation did not have any clinical effect, whereas short-term corticosteroid treatment abolished the chronic inflammation. Moreover, histological analysis of the chronic inflammation revealed significantly more inflammatory changes in the piroxicam group compared with the control group.


Piroxicam treatment had no beneficial effects on the chronic stable inflammation in this model and might even delay histological resolution. As the anti-inflammatory effect of piroxicam is restricted to acute inflammation, the use of NSAIDs during periods of chronic stable arthritis in humans, such as in RA, may need to be investigated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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