Gastrointestinal effects: Upper gastrointestinal complications [perforations, ulcers or bleedings (PUBs)], some of them resulting in fatal outcome, have occurred in patients treated with etoricoxib.
Caution is advised with treatment of patients most at risk of developing a gastrointestinal complication with NSAIDs; the elderly, patients using any other NSAID or acetylsalicylic acid concomitantly or patients with a prior history of gastrointestinal disease, such as ulceration and GI bleeding.
There is a further increase in the risk of gastrointestinal adverse effects (gastrointestinal ulceration or other gastrointestinal complications) when etoricoxib is taken concomitantly with acetylsalicylic acid (even at low doses). A significant difference in GI safety between selective COX-2 inhibitors + acetylsalicylic acid vs. NSAIDs + acetylsalicylic acid has not been demonstrated in long-term clinical trials.
Cardiovascular effects: Clinical trials suggest that the selective COX-2 inhibitor class of medicinal products may be associated with a risk of thrombotic events (especially myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke), relative to placebo and some NSAIDs. As the cardiovascular risks of etoricoxib may increase with dose and duration of exposure, the shortest duration possible and the lowest effective daily dose should be used. The patient's need for symptomatic relief and response to therapy should be re-evaluated periodically, especially in patients with osteoarthritis (see Dosage & Administration, Contraindications, and Adverse Reactions).
Patients with significant risk factors for cardiovascular events (e.g. hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes mellitus, smoking) should only be treated with etoricoxib after careful consideration.
COX-2 selective inhibitors are not a substitute for acetylsalicylic acid for prophylaxis of cardiovascular thrombo-embolic diseases because of their lack of antiplatelet effect. Therefore, antiplatelet therapies should not be discontinued (see Interactions).
Renal effects: Renal prostaglandins may play a compensatory role in the maintenance of renal perfusion. Therefore, under conditions of compromised renal perfusion, administration of etoricoxib may cause a reduction in prostaglandin formation and, secondarily, in renal blood flow, and thereby impair renal function. Patients at greatest risk of this response are those with pre-existing significantly impaired renal function, uncompensated heart failure, or cirrhosis. Monitoring of renal function in such patients should be considered.
Fluid retention, oedema and hypertension: As with other medicinal products known to inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, fluid retention, oedema and hypertension have been observed in patients taking etoricoxib. All Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), including etoricoxib, can be associated with new onset or recurrent congestive heart failure. Caution should be exercised in patients with a history of cardiac failure, left ventricular dysfunction, or hypertension and in patients with pre-existing oedema from any other reason. If there is clinical evidence of deterioration in the condition of these patients, appropriate measures including discontinuation of etoricoxib should be taken.
Etoricoxib may be associated with more frequent and severe hypertension than some other NSAIDs and selective COX-2 inhibitors, particularly at high doses. Therefore, hypertension should be controlled before treatment with etoricoxib (see Contraindications) and special attention should be paid to blood pressure monitoring during treatment with etoricoxib. Blood pressure should be monitored within two weeks after initiation of treatment and periodically thereafter. If blood pressure rises significantly, alternative treatment should be considered.
Hepatic effects: Elevations of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and/or aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (approximately three or more times the upper limit of normal) have been reported in approximately 1% of patients in clinical trials treated for up to one year with etoricoxib 30, 60 and 90 mg daily.
Any patients with symptoms and/or signs suggesting liver dysfunction, or in whom an abnormal liver function test has occurred, should be monitored. If signs of hepatic insufficiency occur, or if persistently abnormal liver function tests (three times the upper limit of normal) are detected, etoricoxib should be discontinued.
General: If during treatment, patients deteriorate in any of the organ system functions described above, appropriate measures should be taken and discontinuation of etoricoxib therapy should be considered. Medically appropriate supervision should be maintained when using etoricoxib in the elderly and in patients with renal, hepatic, or cardiac dysfunction.
Caution should be used when initiating treatment with etoricoxib in patients with dehydration. It is advisable to rehydrate patients prior to starting therapy with etoricoxib.
Serious skin reactions, some of them fatal, including exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and toxic epidermal necrolysis, have been reported very rarely in association with the use of NSAIDs and some selective COX-2 inhibitors during post-marketing surveillance (see Adverse Reactions). Patients appear to be at highest risk for these reactions early in the course of therapy with the onset of the reaction occurring in the majority of cases within the first month of treatment. Serious hypersensitivity reactions (such as anaphylaxis and angioedema) have been reported in patients receiving etoricoxib (see Adverse Reactions). Some selective COX-2 inhibitors have been associated with an increased risk of skin reactions in patients with a history of any medicinal product allergy.
Etoricoxib should be discontinued at the first appearance of skin rash, mucosal lesions, or any other sign of hypersensitivity.
Etoricoxib may mask fever and other signs of inflammation.
Caution should be exercised when co-administering etoricoxib with warfarin or other oral anticoagulants (see Interactions).
The use of etoricoxib, as with any medicinal product known to inhibit cyclooxygenase/ prostaglandin synthesis, is not recommended in women attempting to conceive.
Effects on ability to drive and use machines: Patients who experience dizziness, vertigo or somnolence while taking etoricoxib should refrain from driving or operating machinery.