Effects of valdecoxib in the treatment of chronic low back pain: Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Teresa L. Coats, David G. Borenstein, Narinder K. Nangia, Mark T. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Valdecoxib, a cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 specific inhibitor, is indicated for relief of the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and primary dysmenorrhea. Therapeutic doses of COX-2 specific inhibitors are as effective as nonspecific nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in reducing inflammatory pain while sparing the gastrointestinal and platelet toxicity associated with nonspecific COX-1 inhibition. The aim of this study was to assess the analgesic efficacy and tolerability of valdecoxib 40 mg/d compared with placebo in the treatment of chronic low back pain. This 4-week, prospective, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled, parallel-group study was conducted at 37 centers across the United States and 5 centers in Canada. Patients aged ≥18 years with chronic low back pain in flare were enrolled. Patients were randomized to receive valdecoxib 40-mg/d or placebo tablets, once daily for 4 weeks. Patients rated low back pain intensity on a visual analog scale and completed the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire and the modified Brief Pain Inventory-Short Form (mBPI-SF) at each visit. Two hundred ninety-three patients were enrolled. The valdecoxib group comprised 148 patients (81 women, 67 men; mean [SD] age, 48.6 [13.3] years; mean [SD] body weight, 86.6 [20.9] kg), and the placebo group included 145 patients (85 women, 60 men; mean [SD] age, 48.7 [12.6] years; mean [SD] body weight, 85.6 [19.9] kg). Of the enrolled patients, 249 completed the study: 134 patients (91%) who received valdecoxib and 115 patients (79%) who received placebo. No statistically significant differences in patient baseline characteristics were noted between treatment groups, except in response to 1 mBPI-SF question; patients in the valdecoxib group reported significantly greater interference in relations with other people due to pain than did those in the placebo group (P = 0.048). Changes from baseline in low back pain intensity were significantly greater in valdecoxib-treated patients at each assessment (all, P < 0.001 vs placebo). Pain scores on the mBPI-SF indicated significantly greater pain relief with valdecoxib at each assessment (all, P ≤ 0.014 vs placebo). Improvements in mean Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire score with valdecoxib were significantly greater than with placebo at each assessment (all, P ≤ 0.003). Although the overall incidence of adverse events (AEs) was significantly higher among patients receiving valdecoxib than those receiving placebo (35.1% vs 24.1%, respectively; P = 0.042), no significant differences were found between groups for the incidence of any individual AE. Most AEs (89% [77/87 total events]) were mild or moderate in severity. In this study of patients with chronic low back pain, valdecoxib 40 mg/d provided rapid relief (within 1 week) and consistent relief (over 4 weeks). In addition, significant improvement in function and decreased disability were found with valdecoxib compared with placebo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1249-1260
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Therapeutics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • COX-2 inhibition
  • analgesia
  • low back pain
  • valdecoxib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of valdecoxib in the treatment of chronic low back pain: Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this