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Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Lumiracoxib

Lumiracoxib is prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation in patients with various types of arthritis.

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Lumiracoxib is the active ingredient of Prexige.

General information

Lumiracoxib is prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation in patients with various types of arthritis. It is also used to treat pain after orthopaedic or dental surgery, and is effective in treating menstrual pain.

Because it has a selective action, lumiracoxib has a low risk of causing stomach irritation and bleeding, compared to other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It should however be prescribed with caution to anyone with heart disease.

Your doctor may need to follow your progress while taking this medication, especially if you are elderly or have heart, liver or kidney disease. It is important that you use the lowest dose that controls your pain and you should not take lumiracoxib for longer than necessary. This is because the risk of heart attack and stroke might increase after prolonged treatment, especially with high doses.

How does it work?

Lumiracoxib is a selective anti-inflammatory, meaning that it blocks the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) responsible for prostaglandin (chemicals that play a role in pain and inflammation) synthesis without affecting the enzyme COX-1, involved in the production of prostaglandins that protects the lining of the stomach against stomach ulcers.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 3

Available as: Lumiracoxib is available as tablets

What does it do? Lumiracoxib has a pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory action

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Available as a generic? No

Available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Dietary advice: Lumiracoxib can be taken with or without food

Stopping this medicine: Unless prescribed for prolonged periods, this drug can be safely stopped when no longer needed.

Prolonged use: Lumiracoxib should be used for the shortest period possible at the lowest effective dose. Periodic kidney and liver function test should be performed and patients should contact prescriber if any symptoms related to stomach ulcers appear

Special precautions

Alert your doctor before using this drug if:

  • You are allergic to sulphonamides,
  • You have asthma, or if you have previously found that medication like aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs cause wheezing or difficulty breathing,
  • You have a stomach or duodenal ulcer,
  • You have heart disease,
  • You have liver or kidney disease,
  • You have high blood pressure,
  • You are younger than 18, or
  • You are taking other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: Safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established for children under the age of 18.

Elderly: Caution is advised in the elderly as they are at greater risk of experiencing side effects.

Driving and hazardous work: Caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication as it may increase the risk of stomach irritation and may add to the drugs hepatic side effects.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Indigestion

x

x

Stomach pain

x

x

Diarrhoea

x

x

Dizziness/ vertigo

x

x

Nausea/ vomiting

x

x

Headache

x

x

Visual disturbance

x

x

Unusual tiredness/ weakness

x

x

Rash/ itchy skin

x

x

Mild swelling of lower limbs

x

x

Flatulence

x

x

Sore throat or flu-like symptoms

x

x

Difficulty breathing

x

x

Depression/ anxiety

x

x

Difficulty sleeping

x

x

Palpitations

x

x

Chest Pain

x

x

Anaemia

x

x

Yellowish discoloration of skin or eyes

x

x

Black/bloody faeces/vomit

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

Fluconazole

Possible increase in lumiracoxib side effects

Methotrexate

Increased risk of methotrexate toxicity

Warfarin

Increased risk of bleeding

Lithium

Increased risk of lithium toxicity

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose seek emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include nausea, stomach pain, breathing difficulty and even coma.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 100-400 mg once a day for the shortest period of time needed.

Interesting fact

Lumiracoxib has only recently been withdrawn from the SA market as a result of potential liver damage, although the product's package insert clearly states that "hepatotoxicity including hepatic failure was serious, but uncommon effects found with this product". In this package insert it warns that patients at risk should avoid taking this drug. Novartis - the manufacturer - were reluctant to withdraw the product, but were forced to do so. Some pharmacies in rural areas may still have this product on its shelves due to lack of communication...

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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