What Is Arcoxia for Osteoarthritis?

Medically Reviewed by Jabeen Begum, MD on October 06, 2022
4 min read

When dealing with osteoarthritis, there are many treatment options that patients can consider taking in order to manage their symptoms. Arcoxia is one option. This drug belongs to a group of medicines called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). 

Of course, osteoarthritis patients should know more about this medication before deciding that it is right for them, including how it works, who is eligible to take it, how to take it, and what possible Arcoxia side effects to look out for.

Arcoxia is used to treat osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis. It is a joint disease that results from the gradual breakdown of the cartilage that covers the joints at the ends of bones. This disease affects millions of people around the world, primarily impacting women. Risk factors include obesity, joint injuries, repeated joint stress, genetics, bone deformities, and other metabolic diseases. 

Osteoarthritis is considered a degenerative disease that worsens over time, causing patients a great deal of chronic pain and stiffness. Arcoxia, though, helps treat pain and inflammation of the joints, much like Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). 

Although Arcoxia is primarily used to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis, it can also be used to provide relief from:

Your body naturally produces cyclo-oxygenase enzymes called COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 is found in the gastrointestinal tract, while COX-2 is found at sites of inflammation. The active ingredient found in Arcoxia is Etoricoxib, which is a selective inhibitor of COX-2. 

Once Arcoxia is introduced into the body, it works by blocking the production of substances that cause pain and inflammation. This is an effective method of treatment for patients living with osteoarthritis, as the main symptom of this disease is the breakdown of the cartilage around the joints, which causes acute, severe pain and inflammation in and around the joints.

Arcoxia may not be the best fit for everyone looking to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis, though. Before taking Arcoxia, it is important to consider a few factors. To begin, you should not take Arcoxia if you:

  • Have an allergy to any active Arcoxia ingredients
  • Have experienced significant negative side effects while taking NSAIDs
  • Have experienced heart failure, a heart attack, chest pain, peripheral arterial disease, a stroke or mini-stroke
  • Have had or will be having major surgery on your heart or arteries
  • Have high blood pressure that has not been controlled by treatment
  • Have serious liver disease
  • Have a current stomach ulcer or bleeding in your stomach or intestines
  • Have serious kidney disease

Arcoxia has not yet been approved by the FDA, and its safety and effectiveness when used to treat children under the age of 18 has not been established. 

If you have questions about taking Arcoxia, be sure to check with your doctor about how your medical history or current medical standing might affect how Arcoxia works for you.

It is important to only take Arcoxia once it has been prescribed by your doctor, who will provide you with your specific dosage. For patients with osteoarthritis, Arcoxia has a standard recommended dosage of 30mg per day, with no dosage exceeding 60mg per day. Currently, increased dosages of Arcoxia have not been shown to improve its effectiveness when treating osteoarthritis; therefore, it is recommended that you never exceed the suggested daily dosages.

You will want to take Arcoxia with a glass of water. You should also follow other directions given to you by your doctor. Take Arcoxia at the same time every day, as this is the most effective practice and the best way to remember to take your medicine. If you find that you have accidentally skipped a dose, take your next dose at your regularly scheduled time. Do not double your dosage in order to make up for the skipped dose. This could result in an overdose.

The amount of time that you will be expected to take Arcoxia can vary from patient to patient depending on the severity of your condition and the effectiveness of the Arcoxia so far. It is best to check with your doctor before quitting a medication.

It is important to understand the possible side effects of Arcoxia before beginning to take it. Notify your doctor if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • heartburn
  • mouth ulcers
  • changes in taste
  • diarrhea
  • swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet
  • increase in blood pressure
  • headache, dizziness
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • depression
  • signs of urinary tract infection
  • high levels of potassium in your blood
  • signs of an infection of the breathing passages
  • feelings of anxiousness
  • confusion
  • seeing, feeling, or hearing things that are not there
  • blurred vision
  • skin rash or itchiness
  • pinkish, itchy swellings on the skin
  • passing little or no urine
  • jaundice
  • chest pain
  • an increased tendency to bleed/bruise or to bleed for a longer period of time

Even more serious side effects may be experienced by a small number of patients. Call your doctor or 911 if you find yourself experiencing:

  • fever, skin rash, swelling of the face
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • symptoms of stomach ulcers
  • palpitations
  • a rare skin condition consisting of severe blisters and bleeding in the lips, eyes, mouth, nose, and genitals
  • liver disease, including liver failure, with symptoms such as loss of appetite, yellowing of the skin and eyes, and dark-colored urine

Arcoxia may be prescribed to you by a doctor for the treatment and relief of symptoms caused by osteoarthritis. This medicine contains an active ingredient, Etoricoxib, which is an inhibitor of COX-2. This allows the medication to target the pain and inflammation that is experienced by patients. 

As with other medications, though, it is important that a patient knows about Arcoxia, including how it works, who can take it, and the possible side effects.