Etoricoxib for pain and inflammation - Arcoxia

Etoricoxib is a medicine called a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is also known as an 'NSAID'.

Take etoricoxib once daily.

Remember to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your progress can be monitored.

Type of medicine A selective inhibitor of cyclo-oxygenase-2 non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Used for Relief of pain and inflammation
Also called Arcoxia®
Available as Tablets

Anti-inflammatory painkillers like etoricoxib are sometimes called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or just 'anti-inflammatories'. Etoricoxib is used to treat painful conditions such as arthritis, gout and dental pain after surgery. It eases pain and reduces inflammation.

Etoricoxib is also known as a cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitor. This is because it works to relieve pain and inflammation by blocking an enzyme in the body called cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2). COX-2 is involved in the production of irritant substances in the body in response to disease and injury. By blocking the action of COX-2, etoricoxib reduces the symptoms of pain and inflammation.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking etoricoxib, it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you have asthma or any other allergic disorder.
  • If you think you may be dehydrated - for example, if you have recently had severe diarrhoea or vomiting.
  • If you have had a stomach or duodenal ulcer, or if you have an inflammatory bowel disorder such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breast-feeding.
  • If you are under 16 or over 65 years of age.
  • If you have liver or kidney problems.
  • If you have a heart condition, or a problem with your blood vessels or circulation.
  • If you have high blood pressure.
  • If you have ever had blood clotting problems.
  • If you have a connective tissue disorder, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (an inflammatory condition also called lupus, or SLE).
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine. It is particularly important that you tell your doctor if you have had a bad reaction to any other NSAID (such as aspirin, naproxen, diclofenac, and indometacin).
  • Before you start taking etoricoxib, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The manufacturer's leaflet will give you more information about the tablets and provide a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking them.
  • Take etoricoxib once each day, exactly as your doctor tells you to. There are four strengths of tablet available - 30 mg, 60 mg, 90 mg and 120 mg. You will be prescribed the strength of tablet that best suits your condition. People with osteoarthritis are prescribed 30 mg or 60 mg daily, whereas people with rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis are prescribed 90 mg daily. If you are taking etoricoxib for gout or following dental surgery, you will be prescribed a short course of tablets to take; 120 mg daily for up to eight days for gout, and 90 mg daily for up to three days after dental surgery.
  • Swallow the tablet with a drink of water. It is not important whether you take your doses before or after meals, although the tablets may work more quickly if they are taken before food.
  • You can take the tablets at a time of day to suit you, but try to take your doses at the same time of day each day as this will help you avoid missing doses.
  • If you do forget to take your dose at the usual time, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • Your doctor will try to prescribe you the lowest dose for the shortest time to reduce the risk of side-effects. If you need to take etoricoxib for a long time, your doctor may want to prescribe another medicine along with it to protect your stomach from irritation.
  • Try to keep any regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. Your doctor will want to check your blood pressure while you are taking etoricoxib.
  • If you have asthma, symptoms such as wheeze or breathlessness can be made worse by anti-inflammatories such as etoricoxib. If this happens to you, you should stop taking etoricoxib and see your doctor as soon as possible.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take. This is because you should not take etoricoxib with any other anti-inflammatory painkiller, some of which are available in cold and flu remedies which can be bought over the counter.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with etoricoxib. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common etoricoxib side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
Indigestion, stomach upset, abdominal pain Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods. If the discomfort continues, speak with your doctor
Feeling dizzy or tired Do not drive or use tools or machines until you feel better
Constipation or diarrhoea Drink plenty of water
High blood pressure, changes to some blood tests Your doctor will monitor you for these
Swollen ankles, fluid retention, inflamed mouth, palpitations, bruising, headache and flu-like symptoms If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor

Important: if you experience any of the following less common but more serious symptoms, stop taking etoricoxib and contact your doctor for advice straightaway:

  • If you have any breathing difficulties such as wheeze or breathlessness.
  • If you have any signs of an allergic reaction such as swelling around your mouth or face, or a severe itchy skin rash.
  • If you pass blood or black stools, vomit blood, or have severe abdominal pains.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
3845 (v25)
Last Checked:
15/01/2014
Next Review:
14/01/2017
The Information Standard - certified member