Cochrane Summaries

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Single dose oral rofecoxib for acute postoperative pain in adults

Bulley S, Derry S, Moore RA, McQuay HJ
Published Online: 
8 December 2010

A high level of pain relief is experienced by about 60% of those with moderate to severe postoperative pain after a single dose of rofecoxib 50 mg, compared to about 10% with placebo. Based mainly on dental pain studies, one in every two participants treated with rofecoxib 50 mg had their pain levels halved, who would not have done so with placebo. Fewer people needed rescue medication with rofecoxib, and the time to use was relatively long, at 14 hours. Its efficacy and duration of action are better than that of many commonly used analgesics at standard doses. Efficacy was better in dental surgery than in other types of surgery. Adverse events did not differ from placebo in these single dose studies.

Editor's note: The anti-inflammatory drug rofecoxib (Vioxx) was withdrawn from the market at the end of September 2004 after it was shown that long-term use (greater than 18 months) could increase the risk of heart attack and stroke in a study of secondary prevention of adenoma recurrence. Further information is available at

This record should be cited as: 
Bulley S, Derry S, Moore RA, McQuay HJ. Single dose oral rofecoxib for acute postoperative pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD004604. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004604.pub3
Assessed as up to date: 
10 November 2010