JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Guidelines for the appropriate use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cyclo-oxygenase-2-specific inhibitors and proton pump inhibitors in patients requiring chronic anti-inflammatory therapy

R W Dubois, G Y Melmed, J M Henning, L Laine
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2004 January 15, 19 (2): 197-208
14723611

AIM: To rationalize decision making around the use of different non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) treatment strategies in patients with varying degrees of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular risk.

METHODS: The panel comprised nine physicians (three rheumatologists, two internists, two gastroenterologists and two cardiologists) from geographically diverse areas practising in community-based settings (n = 4) and academic institutions (n = 5). A literature review was performed by the authors on the risks, benefits and costs of NSAIDs, cyclo-oxygenase-2-specific inhibitors and proton pump inhibitor co-therapy. The RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method was used to rate 304 clinical scenarios as 'appropriate', 'uncertain' or 'inappropriate'.

RESULTS: In patients with no previous gastrointestinal event and not concurrently on aspirin (low risk), the panel rated the use of an NSAID alone as 'appropriate' for those aged < 65 years, and the use of an NSAID +proton pump inhibitor or cyclo-oxygenase-2-specific inhibitor + proton pump inhibitor as 'inappropriate'. For patients aged > 65 years and at low risk, an NSAID or cyclo-oxygenase-2-specific inhibitor alone was rated as 'uncertain'. For patients with a previous gastrointestinal event or who concurrently received aspirin, an NSAID alone was rated as 'inappropriate', and either a cyclo-oxygenase-2-specific inhibitor or an NSAID +proton pump inhibitor was rated as 'appropriate'. Finally, for patients with a previous gastrointestinal event and on aspirin, an NSAID or cyclo-oxygenase-2-specific inhibitor in conjunction with a proton pump inhibitor was rated as 'appropriate'.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians and managed care entities need to balance the risks, benefits and costs of NSAIDs, cyclo-oxygenase-2-specific inhibitors and the prophylactic use of proton pump inhibitors. The guidelines given here can assist this process.

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