Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Mar;21(3):245-50. Epub 2006 Feb 22.

Age and rising rates of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor use. Results from a national survey.

Author information

  • 1Division of Geriatrics, San Francisco VA Medical Center, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.



Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors were widely prescribed in the years following their introduction, but little is known about the frequency and context of their use across different age groups.


To determine patterns and context of COX-2 inhibitor use in younger and older adults.


Cross-sectional surveys conducted each year from 1998 to 2002.


National Ambulatory Medical Care survey, a nationally representative sample of patient visits to community-based outpatient practices.


New or preexisting medication use recorded at the patient visit.


Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor use rose rapidly in all age groups, particularly in elders. By 2002, COX-2 inhibitors accounted for 67% of recorded nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) uses in visits by patients age 65 and older, compared with 33% of NSAID uses in adults age 18 to 44 and 54% in adults age 45 to 64 (P<.001). Coadministration of proton pump inhibitors or misoprostol with NSAIDs was low throughout the study period in all age groups, ranging from 6.7% of all NSAID users in 1998 (the year before COX-2 inhibitors were introduced) to 8.2% in 2002 (P=.68). For both older and younger adults, use of these gastroprotective agents occurred at similar rates among persons taking COX-2 inhibitors compared with those taking nonselective NSAIDs. Among elderly NSAID users in 2001 to 2002, elders with cardiovascular disease were more likely to receive COX-2 inhibitors than those without cardiovascular disease (86% vs 66%, P<.001).


Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors were rapidly adopted among all age groups, but particularly among the elderly, where use in patients with cardiovascular disease was especially high. Use of these agents largely supplemented, rather than replaced, older forms of gastroprotective therapy. The rapid and widespread use of COX-2 inhibitors in spite of their higher cost and potential for complications provides important lessons for physicians' approach to new and highly promoted drugs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center