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Activity and potential role of licofelone in the management of osteoarthritis

Authors Arrigo FG Cicero, Luca Laghi

Published 15 April 2007 Volume 2007:2(1) Pages 73—79

Arrigo FG Cicero, Luca Laghi

“D. Campanacci” Clinical Medicine & Applied Biotechnology Dept. Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital – University of Bologna Via Massarenti, 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy

Abstract: Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a progressive joint disease associated with aging. It may be found in the knees, hips, or other joints. It is estimated that costs associated with osteoarthritis exceed 2% of the gross national product in developed countries. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a mainstay in the treatment of inflammatory disease and are among the most widely used drugs worldwide. The main limitation in using NSAIDs consists in their side-effects, including gastrointestinal ulcerogenic activity and bronchospasm. The mechanism of action of these drugs is attributed to the inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX), and, consequently, the conversion of arachidonic acid into prostaglandins. It is hypothesized that the undesirable side-effects of NSAIDs are due to the inhibition of COX-1 (constitutive isoform), whereas the beneficial effects are related to the inhibition of COX-2 (inducible isoform). Arachidonic acid can also be converted to leukotrienes (LTs) by the action of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). Licofelone, a LOX/COX competitive inhibitor, decreases the production of proinflammatory leukotrienes and prostaglandins (which are involved in the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis and in gastrointestinal (GI) damage induced by NSAIDs) and has the potential to combine good analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects with excellent GI tolerability. Preliminary data with this drug seem promising, but further well-designed clinical trials of this agent in the elderly will be necessary before a final evaluation is possible.

Keywords: LOX/COX inhibitor, Licofelone, leukotrienes, osteoarthritis, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

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