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Arthritis drug licence extended


An all-in-one drug which could help prevent hundreds of arthritis sufferers from fatal gastric bleeding has had its licence extended.

The new licence means Axorid is now available to anyone for the symptomatic treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis or Ankylosing spondylitis.

Taken as a 46p daily capsule, Axorid delivers pain relief and protection to the stomach in one pill.

Axorid contains a painkiller and protective omeprazole, which reduces levels of stomach acid.

It is the first medicine to combine a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory treatment (NSAID) with a proton pump inhibitor to protect the stomach from ulcers and bleeding in a single pill.

Around 4,000 people develop stomach ulcers every year through taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen – and 700 die.

These drugs are prescribed for pain relief, but patients are supposed to take a gastro protective medication at the same time to prevent stomach ulcers.

However, many forget to take both, with sometimes life threatening complications, says Professor Peter Hayes of Edinburgh University and the Royal Infirmary.

Prof Hayes said: “Peptic ulceration and bleeding are common and serious complications of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory therapy, particularly for the elderly, those taking the treatment for a long time or patients taking warfarin or aspirin. And patients are likely to present with a very major and potentially life-threatening complication out of the blue.

“A combination of NSAID therapy with gastro protection from a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) is a common approach to try and reduce these nasty side effects and protect the lining of the stomach.”

A spokesman for the drug’s manufacturer, Meda Pharmaceuticals UK, said: “We are pleased that the drug’s licence has been extended which means that the treatment will be available to many more patients.”

Axorid contains a painkiller and protective omeprazole, which reduces levels of stomach acid.

Lynn Love, a spokeswoman for the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, said: “A drug that combines a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory with stomach protection will help some people with arthritis especially those that take a lot of different tablets and can be confused about what to take and when.”

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