'Switch patients from osteoarthritis painkiller'

GPs must stop prescribing the painkiller lumiracoxib (Prexige) and switch patients to an alternative drug, says the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Concerns over liver damage caused by the cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitor has led to suspension of the drug’s UK licence by the MHRA.

It follows similar moves by Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, the US and Canada earlier this year.

Data has shown that an increase in the number of serious liver reactions that have occurred with the licensed 100mg dose, some of which occurred within one month of use.

The drug was licensed for pain relief in osteoarthritis of the knee and hip and has been available in the UK since December 2005.

Between October 2006 and September 2007 alone, around 5,000 UK patients were given one or more scrips for the drug.

Up to 13 November, the MHRA received 23 reports of severe adverse reactions, three of which were liver reactions.

In August, the MHRA said the drug must be contraindicated in patients with a history of liver problems. But after closer examination of the evidence, the Committee on the Safety of Human Medicines, which is part of the MHRA, ruled that ‘previous measures could not be relied upon to guarantee patient safety’.

The latest finding adds to concerns about the side effects of COX-2 inhibitors after research linked them to an increased risk of cardiovascular event.

A spokeswoman for manufacturer Novartis advised GPs to make appointments for patients as soon as convenient to discuss switching to an alternative treatment.

‘Novartis continues to believe Prexige is an important treatment option,’ she added.

rachel.liddle@haymarket.com

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Medical examiners to scrutinise deaths in community settings

The MDU's Dr Kathryn Leask explains how the expansion of the medical examiner system...

Person receiving a COVID-19 booster

COVID-19 booster campaign to start on 5 September, NHS England says

The COVID-19 booster programme will begin in care homes and for housebound patients...

GP consulting room

Nine in ten GPs fear their practice will struggle to cope this winter

Nearly nine in ten GPs fear that their practice will struggle to cope this winter,...

BMA sign

BMA elects new deputy chair of England GP committee and chair of Scottish council

Dr David Wrigley has been elected as new deputy chair of the BMA's GP committee in...

UK money

Almost half of practices say income from private fees has fallen in past year

Almost half of GP practices have seen their income from private and professional...

COVID-19 vaccination centre

BMA raises 'serious concerns' about GP workload and funding for autumn COVID boosters

The BMA has raised 'serious concerns' about the workload implications of this autumn's...