Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Population mean changes from clinical trials are difficult to apply to individuals in clinical practice. Responder analysis may be better, but needs validating for level of response and treatment duration. METHODS: The numbers of patients with pain relief over baseline (> or =15%, > or =30%, > or =50%, > or =70%) at 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks of treatment were obtained using the WOMAC 100 mm visual analogue pain subscale score for each treatment group in seven randomised placebo-controlled trials of etoricoxib in osteoarthritis lasting > or =6 weeks. Dropouts were assigned 0% improvement from baseline from then on. The numbers needed to treat (NNTs) were calculated at each level of response and time point. RESULTS: 3554 patients were treated with placebo, etoricoxib 30 mg and 60 mg, celecoxib 200 mg, naproxen 1000 mg or ibuprofen 2400 mg daily. Response rates fell with increasing pain relief: 60-80% experienced minimally important pain relief (> or =15%), 50-60% moderate pain relief (> or =30%), 40-50% substantial pain relief (> or =50%) and 20-30% extensive pain relief (> or =70%). NNTs for etoricoxib, celecoxib and naproxen were stable over 2-12 weeks. Ibuprofen showed lessening of effectiveness with time. CONCLUSION: Responder rates and NNTs are reproducible for different levels of response over 12 weeks and have relevance for clinical practice at the individual patient level. An average 10 mm improvement in pain equates to almost one in two patients having substantial benefit.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Rheum Dis

Publication Date





374 - 379


Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors, Diffusion of Innovation, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Humans, Osteoarthritis, Hip, Osteoarthritis, Knee, Pain, Pain Measurement, Pyridines, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Sulfones, Treatment Outcome