Doctors prescribed nimesulide, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, to relieve pain, inflammation and fever in children and adults. Controversy arose after studies tied incidents of liver toxicity to nimesulide use. Scientists continue to investigate the drug.
Banned in Some Countries
Studies in the medical journal Lancet in 1999 and the Annals of Pharmacotherapy in 2002 indicated an increased risk of liver-related consequences from the use of nimesulide. Japan, Finland, Spain, Turkey, Israel, Sri Lanka and India removed the drug from their markets. Ireland followed suit in 2007 when an Irish Medicines Board Cohort Study revealed similar results of increased risk for hepatic consequences.
Nimesulide never went on the market in the United States, Australia or the United Kingdom. These countries withdrew nimesulide's application for approval in response to the study results.
In 2006, researchers at Ohio State University discovered that nimesulide derivatives (analogues) appear to halt the production of aromatase, an enzyme present in oestrogen-dependent breast cancers. According to the National Institutes of Health, a 2009 study further confirmed the effectiveness of nimesulide analogues. The NIH article indicates that these early studies of the drug could lead to its further development as a treatment for breast cancer.