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Piroxicam Linked to Serious Skin Reactions, GI Problems, Health Canada Says

Jun 26, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

The labeling for piroxicam has been updated in Canada to reflect increased risk of serious skin reactions and gastrointestinal problems relative to other similar drugs.  Health Canada said in a release issued yesterday that piroxicam should no longer be used to treat short-term pain and inflammation.

Piroxicam, sold in the U.S. both generically, and under the brand name Feldene, is a prescription drug in the family known as non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and is used to relieve pain and inflammation.  

This new safety information affects the product labeling only for piroxicam drugs that are indicated for the treatment of acute pain. Health Canada says it  is currently working with the manufacturers of these drugs to revise the product monographs. Patients with concerns should contact their physicians.

According to Health Canada, a safety review determined that the risks associated with the  use of piroxicam as a treatment for acute, short-term pain no longer outweigh the benefits relative to other non-selective NSAIDs. Piroxicam can still be prescribed for the symptomatic relief of chronic pain and inflammation in patients suffering from certain types of chronic arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis).

In Canada, there are several alternative drugs, including other non-selective NSAIDs that can be used to treat acute, short-term pain and inflammation. The choice of an alternative medicine will depend on the type of pain being treated and should be determined in consultation with a health care professional, Health Canada said.

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