Etoricoxib, CAS number 202409-33-4, is a COX-2 selective inhibitor for chronic pain management. Also known as Arcoxia worldwide, as well as Algix and Tauxib in Italy, the brand is marketed by Merck. As a anti inflammatory and pain medication, etoricoxib is in a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. Besides acting as a pain reliever, etoricoxib is effective at reducing swelling and lowering fever. By blocking the COX-2 enzymes that create prostaglandins, etoricoxib is able to chemically block the body from making as many prostaglandins, thus reducing pain and inflammation.
Etoricoxib is approved in over sixty three countries, as of August 2011, including the United Kingdom and Mexico. However, etoricoxib, or Arcoxia, is still not FDA approved here in the United States. Concerns about the similar structure and mechanism to rofecoxib, or Vioxx, has the FDA wary about approval for etoricoxib. Vioxx was pulled from the market in 2004 due to many adverse reports of cardiovascular complications, specifically stroke and heart attack. In April 2007 the FDA officially rejected the application for a U.S. approval for Arcoxia. Unfortunately for U.S. patients who found success with Vioxx, Arcoxia became a nonexistent option for treatment of their arthritis symptoms. This leaves a hole in effective pain management for patients with Arthritis, and according to “Arthritis Today” magazine, there are many arthritis sufferers who would prefer the optimum pain management option of etoricoxib, even with the slight cardiovascular risks.
Besides a potential for negative cardiovascular effects, other side effects for etoricoxib include nausea, stomach pain, edema in the hands and feet, bruising and dyspepsia. Despite the lack of FDA approval, many countries find success in patients using etoricoxib. Merck reported that Arcoxia made $377 million in sales in 2008, which was a growth of 14.6% from 2007 sales. These solid figured indicate a willingness by patients to seek appropriate and individualized pain management, while weighing the risks on a case by case basis. Etoricoxib is available in the USA through LGM Pharma for R&D purposes, along with client assistance and support in all stages of research.
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