Scot study recruits 4000th volunteer

6th April, 2011

A major research project into the safety of long term pain relief for sufferers of arthritis has taken a significant step forward this week with the recruitment of its 4000th patient volunteer.

The SCOT study is designed to examine the effectiveness and safety of drugs commonly used to treat the pain of arthritis. Patients in Scotland and at centres in England, Denmark and the Netherlands are being invited to join the study, which could benefit millions of arthritis sufferers around the world.

\'This information will be of great value to everyone who needs to take these drugs on a regular basis, which is millions of people around the world. The findings will allow doctors and people with arthritis to make the best choice, not just for their joint pains but also for their general health,\' said Professor Tom MacDonald, lead researcher on the SCOT Trial, based at the University of Dundee.

The group of drugs most commonly prescribed to treat the pain of arthritis, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) includes familiar names such as ibuprofen (Brufen®) and diclofenac (Voltarol®) which are commonly used to relieve joint pains. Often they do that job well, which is why they are so popular.

Millions of prescriptions are written in Scotland every year for NSAIDs, not counting all the ibuprofen sold \'over-the-counter\' in pharmacies and shops. Despite this, like all drugs, NSAIDS can have side effects. These include irritation of the digestive system and effects on blood pressure and the heart.

In recent years a new group of NSAIDs has been developed called `Cox-2 inhibitors’. These Cox 2 inhibitors have been shown to be less harsh on the digestive system than the most popular existing NSAIDs, leading to fewer stomach ulcers and bleeding. However, early studies on one of these new drugs suggested an increase in the risk of raised blood pressure and heart problems, but the balance between benefits and possible risks is not known.

The aim of the SCOT study is to find out if celecoxib - the most widely prescribed of the Cox-2 inhibitors - is better, worse or just the same as the other available NSAIDs in terms of cardiovascular and digestive system safety.

The SCOT study, led by Professor MacDonald of the Medicines Monitoring Unit at the University of Dundee, is supported by seven other Universities/Research institutes across Scotland, England, Denmark and Holland, making it one of the biggest ever studies run by a Scottish university.

Recruitment of volunteers and GP practices to the study is still taking place, so if you are interested in taking part in the SCOT study, speak to your GP directly to ask if they are taking part, or check the website for details (www.scottrial.co.uk) or email info@scottrial.co.uk or Telephone : +44 (0) 1382 632575

Notes to editors

Arthritis affects around 10% (1 in 10) of adults in the UK at some time in their life.
Diclofenac and Ibuprofen account for around 74% of all NSAID prescription in Scotland
Celecoxib accounts for around 3% of all NSAID prescriptions in Scotland.
The SCOT Study is currently running in over 470 GP centres across Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire, and the Home Counties of England and across Denmark & Holland.
The SCOT study is sponsored by The University of Dundee, and supported locally by The University of Edinburgh, The University of Glasgow, The University of Aberdeen, The University of Birmingham, The University of Nottingham, The University of Odense Denmark, and The Julius Clinical Research Centre Holland.
The Scot study is funded by an investigator initiated grant given to The University of Dundee by Pfizer.
The protocol, all data and results are owned by the SCOT study steering committee and are not owned by Pfizer
The current patent for Celecoxib expires in 2014, allowing the drug to be produced generically and sold at a significantly lower price, slashing the price the NHS has to pay.

For media enquiries contact:
Roddy Isles
Head, Press Office
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384910
E-MAIL: r.isles@dundee.ac.uk
MOBILE: 07800 581902


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