Etodolac is a new non-steroidal agent (NSAID) with anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity. It has been studied in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and pain resulting from minor surgery. In the latter setting, etodolac is at least as effective as aspirin in terms of overall pain relief, and the duration of analgesic effect of a dose of 200 to 400mg is longer than that of aspirin. In rheumatoid arthritis, etodolac, administered twice daily, appears comparable in efficacy to moderate doses of aspirin (3 to 4g daily), but is better tolerated. To date, etodolac has not been compared clinically with analgesics other than aspirin and sulindac. As with other non-steroidal agents, gastrointestinal complaints are the most frequently reported side effects, but the incidence of most gastrointestinal effects was only slightly higher than with placebo. Thus, from studies in small numbers of patients etodolac appears at least as effective as aspirin and better tolerated. The relatively low incidence of gastrointestinal side effects in these studies awaits confirmation in well designed comparisons with widely used NSAIDs.
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