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Pain is a common complaint, often occurring in conjunction with inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most commonly used analgesic agents in ambulatory patients. In recent studies, the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor rofecoxib demonstrated analgesic effects similar to those of NSAIDs in the treatment of acute pain and primary dysmenorrhea. The present randomized, single-dose, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo- and active-comparator-controlled, parallel-group study was undertaken to compare the analgesic efficacy of the COX-2 inhibitors rofecoxib 50 mg and celecoxib 200 mg with that of ibuprofen 400 mg and placebo in patients with postoperative dental pain. Two hundred and seventy-two patients experiencing pain after the removal of > or =2 third molars were randomized according to pain severity (moderate vs severe) to receive a single dose of placebo (n = 45), rofecoxib 50 mg (n = 90), celecoxib 200 mg (n = 91), or ibuprofen 400 mg (n = 46). Using a patient diary, patients recorded pain intensity, pain relief, and global evaluations throughout the 24-hour period after dosing. The overall analgesic effect, onset of action, peak effect, and duration of effect were evaluated, with the primary end point being total pain relief over 8 hours (TOPAR8). The safety profile was assessed on the basis of physical findings, laboratory results, and spontaneous reports of adverse experiences. The results showed that compared with celecoxib, rofecoxib had superior analgesic effects on all measures of analgesic efficacy, including overall analgesic effect (TOPAR8, 18.3 vs. 12.5; P<0.001), time to onset of effect (30 vs. 60 minutes; P = 0.003), peak pain relief (score, 2.8 vs 2.3; P<0.05), and duration of effect (>24 vs. 5.1 hours; P<0.001). In addition, rofecoxib's analgesic efficacy was similar to that of ibuprofen (TOPAR8, 18.3 vs. 17.0; P = 0.460), but the duration was longer (P<0.05); with ibuprofen, the time to on set was 24 minutes, peak pain relief score was 2.9, and duration of analgesic effect was 8.9 hours. The safety profile was similar across all treatment groups. Thus rofecoxib provided analgesic efficacy superior to that of celecoxib and comparable to that of ibuprofen in the treatment of patients with acute postoperative dental pain.


K Malmstrom, S Daniels, P Kotey, B C Seidenberg, P J Desjardins. Comparison of rofecoxib and celecoxib, two cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, in postoperative dental pain: a randomized, placebo- and active-comparator-controlled clinical trial. Clinical therapeutics. 1999 Oct;21(10):1653-63

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PMID: 10566562

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