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Br J Rheumatol. 1996 Apr;35 Suppl 1:29-34.

A long-term study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of meloxicam therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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St Bartholomews Hospital, West Smithfield, London.


Meloxicam is a new non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which has a higher activity against cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) than against cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1), with potentially high anti-inflammatory and analgesic action. This study was designed to assess the long-term safety and efficacy of meloxicam 15 mg daily. Three hundred and fifty-seven patients (aged 19-84 yr, mean 56 yr) with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) received meloxicam 15 mg orally once daily, for up to 18 months. Sixty-six per cent of patients remained on therapy for 18 months. Mean global efficacy, assessed by each patient on a visual analogue scale (0 cm = excellent, 10 cm = useless), was 3.32 +/- 3.1 cm at the last study visit (all patients included) and 2.33 +/- 2.25 cm after 18 months. Health status, general condition, morning stiffness, grip strength of right hand, Ritchie joint index, pain in the morning and pain at night all improved significantly. Efficacy was maintained through the study. Only 11.4% of patients discontinued prematurely due to lack of efficacy. Mean global tolerance was good. Twenty-eight per cent of patients experienced gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events, 21% musculoskeletal system disorders, 18% skin disorders and 15% respiratory disorders. Only 13.7% of patients discontinued due to adverse events. Severe GI effects, such as perforation, ulcer and bleeding, occurred in only three patients (0.8%). Withdrawals due to GI adverse events occurred in 3.9% of patients. Meloxicam 15 mg once daily was effective and compared favourably with standard NSAIDs regarding tolerance when administered to patients with RA over an 18 month period.

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