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Nimesulide: Wikis


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Systematic (IUPAC) name
CAS number 51803-78-2
ATC code M01AX17
PubChem 4495
ChemSpider 4339
Chemical data
Formula C13H12N2O5S 
Mol. mass 308.311
Pharmacokinetic data
Protein binding >97.5%
Metabolism hepatic
Half life 1.8-4.7h
Excretion renal(50%), fecal(29%)
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.  ?
Legal status usually prescription only
Routes oral, rectal, topical
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Nimesulide is a relatively COX-2 selective, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with analgesic and antipyretic properties. Its approved indications are the treatment of acute pain, the symptomatic treatment of osteoarthritis and primary dysmenorrhoea in adolescents and adults above 12 years old. Due to concerns about the risk of hepatotoxicity, nimesulide has been withdrawn from market in many countries.



It was launched in Italy for the first time as Aulin and Mesulid in 1985 and is presently available in more than 50 countries worldwide, among others France, Portugal, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium, Mexico, Brazil and India. Nimesulide has never been filed for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluation in the United States, where it is not marketed.


EMEA reports favourable benefit/risk ratio

On August 1, 2003 the Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products (CPMP) of the EMEA reported that the benefit/risk profile of nimesulide containing medicinal products (Aulin, Mesulide, Nimed and associated product names) for systemic and topical use is favourable and that Marketing Authorisations should be maintained/granted. The CPMP recommended to restrict the use of nimesulide to the indications of treatment of acute pain, symptomatic treatment of painful osteoarthritis and primary dysmenorrhoea for the systemic formulations and symptomatic relief of pain associated with sprains and acute tendinitis for the topical formulation. [2]

Alembic Ltd. issued a circular asking wholesalers and retailers to withdraw all stocks of Nimegesic Drops (a pediatric dosage form of nimesulide) in 2003, consistent with the fact that nimesulide is, like most NSAIDs, not indicated in children.[3]

In India, the marketers of Nimesulide are unwilling to acknowledge any of its side effects. The prescription of this drug by doctors to children below 12 years of age continues. The marketers of Nimesulide allege that since Nimesulide is taking the market share for analgesics away from Paracetamol and Ibuprofen, the marketers of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are engaging in misrepresenting Nimesulide.

Irish Medicines Board (IMB) suspends Nimesulide containing drugs (15 May 2007)

The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) has decided to suspend Nimesulide from the Irish market and refer it to the EU Committee for Human Medicinal Products (CHMP) for a review of its benefit/risk profile. The decision is due to the reporting of six (6) cases of potentially related liver failures to the IMB by the National Liver Transplant Unit, St Vincent Hospital. These cases occurred in the period from 1999 to 2006.[4]

Singapore Health Science Authority suspends Nimesulide containing drugs

Pending review of the drug's safety by the EMEA, nimesulide has been suspended with immediate effect (June 15, 2007)[5][6]

EMEA confirms the positive benefit/risk ratio

On September 21, 2007 the EMEA released a press release on their review on the liver-related safety of nimesulide. The EMEA has concluded that the benefits of these medicines outweigh their risks, but that there is a need to limit the duration of use to ensure that the risk of patients developing liver problems is kept to a minimum. Therefore the EMEA has limited the use of systemic formulations (tablets, solutions, suppositories) of nimesulide to 15 days. [7]

RTE's Prime Time Investigates

On December 3rd, 2007 Ireland's RTÉ aired an investigative programme highlighting the deadly side effects of Nimesulide and how it has been linked to over 300 cases of liver disease throughout Europe.

Italian corruption probe involving vetting of nimesulide

In May 2008, Italy's leading daily paper Corriere della Sera and other media outlets reported that a top-ranking official at Italy's medicines agency AIFA had been filmed by police while accepting bribes from employees of pharmaceutical companies. [8] [9] The money was allegedly being paid to ensure that certain drugs (nimesulide-containing Aulin being the most prominent) would be spared scrutiny from the drugs watchdog. The investigation had started in 2005 following suspicions that some AIFA drug tests had been faked. Eight arrests were made. Following this, concerns about nimesulide hepatotoxicity became more widely reported by the Italian media. A government minister ordered an inquiry. Presently, nimesulide can be bought carrying a prescription from a physician, that is kept as a receipt at the chemist shop, nominally allowing strong control over selling.

While any corruption episode cannot be ignored, nor any toxicity problem, it must be considered[citation needed] that Nimesulide has lost its patent protection, so it is available at a very low cost from many producers and it is presently one of the cheapest drugs (chemists sold it at less than 10 cents per dose). So there are surely very strong interests in substituting Nimesulide with some more expensive possibly patented drug.[citation needed] The original manufacturer of Nimesulide is Helsinn Healthcare SA, Switzerland, which acquired the rights for the drug in 1976. After the patent protection had terminated, a number of other companies have started production and marketing of Nimesulide.

Prohibition in several European countries

Like in Ireland, Nimesulide has been prohibited in several other European countries, based on the serious hepatotoxicity that has been suspected of causing several hundred deaths.

Illicit marketing as "food supplement" in Scandinavia and the UK

After serious medical problems including deaths from the food supplement "Fortodol", analysis demonstrated that in several instances this "food supplement from natural products", declared to contain turmeric and phenyl alanine, contained therapeutic doses of Nimesulide. This was thus probably the reason for the serious side effects of this preparation.[10] Identical or similar preparations containing turmeric tainted with nimesulide have been marketed in Denmark, Finland and in the UK under the brand name "Miradin".[11]


It is available in a variety of forms: tablets, powder for dissolution in water, suppositories and topical gel (Sulidin gel).

A recent evaluation from EMEA (the European Medicines Agency) concluded that the overall benefit/risk profile of nimesulide is favourable and in line with that of the other NSAIDs (such as for example, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen).

Trade names

Nimesulide is available through the world as original product with the following trademarks: Aulin, Ainex, Drexel, Donulide, Edrigyl, Enetra, Eskaflam, Heugan, Mesulid, Minapon, NeRelid, Nexen, Nidolon, Nimed, Nimedex, Nimesil, Nimulid, Nimutab, Nise, Nisulid, Nodard Plus (India), Novolid, Relmex (Ecuador), Scaflam, Scaflan, Sulidin® (Turkey), Modact-IR (Pakistan)[1]. Sulidene and Zolan for veterinary use. Many generic and copy-products also exist (Coxtral, Lusemin, Medicox, Nidol, Nimalox, Nimesil, Nimotas, Nimulid, Nise, Nizer,Sorini, Ventor, Vionim, Neolide, Willgo among others).


Nimesulide is rapidly absorbed following oral administration.[12]

Nimesulide undergoes extensive biotransformation, mainly to 4-hydroxynimesulide (which also appears to be biologically active).[12]

Food, gender and advanced age have negligible effects on nimesulide pharmacokinetics.[12]

Moderate renal impairment does not necessitate dosage adjustment while patients with severe renal impairment or hepatic impairment are contraindicated.[13]

Nimesulide has a relatively rapid onset of action, with meaningful reductions in pain and inflammation observed within 15 minutes from drug intake.[14][15] As many as almost 498 million patients have been treated with nimesulide from its launch until today[citation needed].

The therapeutic effects of Nimesulide are the result of its complete mode of action which targets a number of key mediators of the inflammatory process such as: COX-2 mediated prostaglandins, free radicals, proteolytic enzymes and histamine[14]. Clinical evidence is available to support a particularly good profile in terms of gastrointestinal tolerability.[16]

As all anti-inflammatory drugs, it should be taken in compliance with the recommendations included in the patient leaflet.

Side effects

Like most drugs in NSAID category, nimesulide is known to be hepatotoxic (damaging to the liver) in rare but unpredictable cases and should be taken with care. The patient information leaflet informs that the use of nimesulide in children under the age of 12 is contraindicated.

The drug has certain side effects, that can affect individuals in different ways. The following are some of the side effects, that are often associated with the drug:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Pruritis
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Women should use the drug with caution during lactation and it is contraindicated during pregnancy.[17]


  1. ^ No differences between nimesulide and other NSAIDs liver toxicity
  2. ^ European Commission CPMP favourable opinion on nimesulide
  3. ^ The end begins
  4. ^ IMB Announces Immediate Suspension of the Marketing of Medicines Containing Nimesulide
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ EMEA press release on nimesulide September 2007
  8. ^ «Mazzette per evitare i controlli sull'Aulin». Mario Pappagallo, Corriere della Sera, 23 May 2008
  9. ^ Italian medicines agency officials arrested in corruption probe. Manufacturing Chemist
  10. ^ (Swedish)
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b c Bernareggi A. Clinical pharmacokinetics of nimesulide. Clin.Pharmacokinet. 1998; 35: 247-274
  13. ^ Microsoft Word - opnh.P.Nimesulide .EMEA-CPMP-3086-03-en-Final.doc
  14. ^ a b KD Rainsford and Members of the Consensus Report Group on Nimesulide. Nimesulide – a multifactorial approach to inflammation and pain: scientific and clinical consensus. Curr. Med. Res. Opin 2006; 22 (6): 1161-1170
  15. ^ Bianchi M and Broggini M. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Clinical Trial Comparing the Efficacy of Nimesulide, Celecoxib and Rofecoxib in osteoarthritis of the Knee. Drugs, 2003; 63, Suppl. 1: 37-46
  16. ^ Laporte JR et al. Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding Associated with the Use of NSAIDs. Drug Safety, 2004; 27 (6): 411-420
  17. ^

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