Novartis has presented new data which shows that the Switzerland-based firm’s anti-inflammatory COX-2 inhibitor Prexige has significantly less impact on blood pressure than ibuprofen.

New data, presented today at the European League Against Rheumatism congress in Barcelona, Spain, shows that patients with osteoarthritis who also have controlled hypertension experienced a slight decrease in average daily blood pressure when treated with Prexige (lumiracoxib) compared to a slight increase in those taking ibuprofen, the commonly-used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Novartis said that the results are particularly important because around 40% of patients with osteoarthritis also have high blood pressure.

The study was a four-week, multi-centre, randomised, double-blind, double-dummy, parallel group trial of 787 hypertensive osteoarthritis patients age 50 or older with ambulatory blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or below, who were being treated with a antihypertensive. 741 patients completed the study, which compared Prexige 100 mg once-daily with ibuprofen 600 mg taken three times daily.

At the end of the study, patients on Prexige showed a decrease in mean ambulatory systolic blood pressure of 2.7 mmHg compared to a 2.2 mmHg increase in patients taking ibuprofen. Mean ambulatory diastolic blood pressure was down by 1.5 mmHg in Prexige patients compared to a 0.5 mmHg rise in those on the older NSAID.

Prexige is approved for use in certain types of patients with osteoarthritic pain of the knee and hip in more than 50 countries, including the European Union, Canada and Latin America and Novartis noted that the drug is currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration for relief of the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis.