WASHINGTON (AP) _ A consumer group wants a popular arthritis drug pulled from the market on grounds it is more likely to cause severe stomach and intestinal ailments than similar medicines.

Public Citizen said Monday that eight studies - five of them published in 1993 and 1994 - suggest the drug piroxicam has a ''higher propensity'' to cause serious gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers, perforations or bleeding.

The group filed a petition Monday with the Food and Drug Administration, asking it to ban use of piroxicam in the United States.

FDA spokeswoman Betsy Adams said the agency had received the petition and ''will consider it very carefully.''

Piroxicam is sold under the brand name of Feldene by Pratt-Pfizer, and in generic form by several other drug makers.

In January 1986, Public Citizen petitioned the Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA to ban the use of piroxicam by people aged 60 and older, but that request was denied for lack of evidence.