What is Arcoxia?
Arcoxia is used for the following:
acute and chronic treatment of the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
management of ankylosing spondylitis
relief of chronic musculoskeletal pain
relief of acute pain
to treat acute gouty arthritis
Your doctor will prescribe Arcoxia for you only after you have used other medicines for your condition and they have not been suitable for you.
Your doctor will want discuss your treatment with Arcoxia from time to time. It is important that you use the lowest dose that controls your pain and you should not take Arcoxia for longer than necessary. This is because the risk of heart attacks and strokes might increase after prolonged treatment, especially with high doses.
Osteoarthritis is a joint disease. It results from the gradual breakdown of the cartilage that covers the joints and cushions the ends of bones.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, tenderness, stiffness of one or more joints, and physical disability. The hips and knees are the most commonly affected joints, but other joints such as those of the hands and spine may also be affected.
Osteoarthritis is more common in women than in men. Many factors can lead to the development of osteoarthritis including obesity and joint injury (eg. from sport).
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling and loss of function in the joints and inflammation in other body organs.
Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease of the spine and large joints.
Gout is a disorder characterised by sudden, recurring attacks of pain and inflammation in one or more joints.
How does Arcoxia work?
Note: Arcoxia has not been approved by the FDA for the U.S. market.
Arcoxia belongs to a group of medicines called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) specific inhibitors (also known as coxibs).
The body produces two similar enzymes called COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1, among other functions, is involved with protecting the stomach, while COX-2 plays a role in joint inflammation and pain.
Arcoxia reduces pain and inflammation by blocking COX-2, an enzyme in the body.
Arcoxia does not block COX-1, the enzyme involved in protecting the stomach from ulcers.
Other anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS) block both COX-1 and COX-2.
Arcoxia relieves pain and inflammation with less risk of stomach ulcers compared to NSAIDS.
However taking aspirin with Arcoxia may reverse this benefit (see Before you take Arcoxia, Taking Other Medicines).
In clinical studies, the risk of developing ulcers on Arcoxia was lower than with NSAIDs. Some people developed ulcers whether they were taking Arcoxia or placebo in these studies; however the rate was higher on Arcoxia.
If any of the following symptoms: shortness of breath, chest pains or ankle swelling appear or worsen, stop your treatment with Arcoxia and consult a doctor, as soon as is practical.
If you have kidney, liver or heart disease, your doctor will want to appropriately keep a check on you.
If you develop any symptoms that could indicate a severe allergic reaction such as an inability to breathe or a serious skin reaction you must consult a doctor on an urgent basis.
Your doctor will want to discuss your treatment from time to time. It is important that you use the lowest dose that controls your pain and you should not take Arcoxia for longer than necessary. This is because the risk of heart attacks and strokes might increase after prolonged treatment, especially with high doses.
Arcoxia can increase blood pressure in some people, especially in high doses, and this could increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Your doctor will want to check your blood pressure from time to time, to make sure that it is safe to continue treatment.
Your doctor may have prescribed Arcoxia for another reason. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why Arcoxia has been prescribed for you.
Arcoxia is not addictive.
Before you take Arcoxia
Note: Arcoxia has not been approved by the FDA for the U.S. market.
Do not take Arcoxia if:
- you have an allergy to Arcoxia or any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet
- the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering
- the expiry date on the pack has passed.
- If you take this medicine after the expiry date has passed, it may not work.
- You have had heart failure, a heart attack, bypass surgery, chest pain (angina), narrow or blocked arteries of the extremities (peripheral arterial disease), a stroke or mini stroke (TIA or transient ischaemic attack).
- You have high blood pressure that is not well controlled on blood pressure medication.
- You are having major surgery and have conditions which increase your risk of coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or smoking.
- You are having major surgery on you heart or arteries.
If you are not sure whether you should start taking Arcoxia, talk to your doctor.
Arcoxia has not been adequately studied in children. Therefore, Arcoxia should not be given to children.
Arcoxia works equally well in older and younger adult patients. Adverse experiences may occur at a higher incidence in older patients compared to younger patients. If you are elderly (ie over 65 years of age), your doctor will want to appropriately keep a check on you. No dosage adjustment is necessary for older patients.
Before you start to taking Arcoxia tell your doctor if:
- you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. Arcoxia is not recommended for use during late pregnancy. If there is a need to consider using Arcoxia during your pregnancy, your doctor will discuss with you the benefits and risks of using it.
- you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed. It is not known if Arcoxia passes into breast milk. You and your doctor should discuss whether you should stop breast-feeding or not take Arcoxia.
- you have or have had any medical conditions, especially the following:
- history of angina
- heart attack or a blocked artery in your heart
- narrow or blocked arteries of the extremities
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- heart failure
- high blood pressure
- you have had an allergic reaction to aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medicines (commonly known as NSAIDs)
Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include asthma, pinkish itchy swellings on the skin (hives), runny or blocked nose.
- you have an infection
If you take Arcoxia while you have an infection, it may hide fever and may make you think, mistakenly, that you are better or that your infection is less serious than it might be.
- you have any allergies to any other medicines or any other substances, such as foods, preservatives or dyes.
- you have a history of stroke or mini stroke
- you have conditions which increase your risk of coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or smoking.
If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you take any Arcoxia.
Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including medicines that you buy without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.
Some medicines and Arcoxia may interfere with each other. These include:
- warfarin, a medicine used to prevent blood clots
- rifampicin, an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis and other infections
- water pills (diuretics)
- ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, medicines used to lower high blood pressure or treat heart failure
- lithium, a medicine used to treat a certain type of depression
- birth control pills
- hormone replacement therapy
- methotrexate, a medicine used to suppress the immune system
These medicines may be affected by Arcoxia or may affect how well it works. You may need different amounts of your medicine, or you may need to take different medicines.
Your doctor or pharmacist has more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while taking Arcoxia.
Arcoxia can be taken with low dose aspirin. If you are currently taking low dose aspirin for the prevention of a heart attack or stroke, you should continue to do so unless specified by your Doctor. Arcoxia cannot replace aspirin for this purpose.