Rofecoxib: an update on physicochemical, pharmaceutical, pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic aspects

The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Naveen AhujaBhupinder Singh


Rofecoxib (MK-966) is a new generation non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent (NSAID) that exhibits promising anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic activity. It selectively inhibits cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 isoenzyme in a dose-dependent manner in man. No significant inhibition of COX-1 is observed with rofecoxib up to doses of 1000 mg. The pharmacokinetics of rofecoxib has been found to be complex and variable. Mean oral bioavailability after single dose of rofecoxib (12.5, 25 or 50 mg) is 93% with t(max) varying widely between 2 and 9 h. It is highly plasma-protein bound and is metabolized primarily by cytosolic reductases to inactive metabolites. Rofecoxib is eliminated predominantly by hepatic metabolism with a terminal half-life of approximately 17 h during steady state. Various experimental models and clinical studies have demonstrated rofecoxib to be superior, or at least equivalent, in anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic efficacy to comparator nonselective NSAIDs in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other pain models. Emerging evidence suggests that rofecoxib may also find potential use as supportive therapy in various pathophysiologic conditions like Alzheimer's disease, and in various malignant tumo...Continue Reading


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