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Arthritis drug's licence withdrawn

Arthritis sufferers have been dealt a "major blow" after a regulator suspended a licence for a drug to treat the disease, a charity claims.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) suspended sales of Prexige (lumiracoxib) over concerns it can damage the liver.

Patients who are in good health and are seeing benefits from taking the drug may continue on the treatment, but must see a doctor to discuss alternative medications.

But people who are taking Prexige and feel unwell should stop taking it immediately, and consult their physician as soon as possible, the MHRA said.

A review of the risks and benefits of the drug will now be conducted across Europe, and further advice will be issued to patients and nurses when this analysis has finished.

A spokesman for the Arthritis Research Campaign said the decision on Prexige will severely affect osteoarthritis sufferers, and represents the "final nail in the coffin" for the class of drugs to which it belongs, COX-2 Inhibitors, or coxibs.

"This means there is even less choice available for people with osteoarthritis who are already struggling to find effective pain relief without unacceptable side-effects," the spokesman added.


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