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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2006 May 6;150(18):1016-21.

[Use of rofecoxib in family practice in the north of Netherlands, 2000-2004: background and consequences].

[Article in Dutch]

Author information

Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen/Registratie Netwerk Groningen, Disciplinegroep Huisartsgeneeskunde, Antonius Deusinglaan I, Gebouw 3217, 9713 AV Groningen.



To gain insight into the trends in the prescription ofrofecoxib, the medication and disease histories of rofecoxib users, and the occurrence of cardiac complications during the follow-up.


Longitudinal comparative study in family practice.


Based on the data from family practices (17 family physicians) affiliated with the Registration Network Groningen, a network with about 30,000 patients in the northern part of the Netherlands, the incidence and prevalence ofrofecoxib use were determined per 1000 patients at risk for every quarter during the period 2000-2004. Data on duration, dosage and indications were taken from the rofecoxib prescriptions. Differences in morbidity between rofecoxib users and the users of traditional NSAIDs were compared using logistic regression, and differences between the two groups in the occurrence of cardiac complications were assessed by means of Cox regression analysis.


During the period investigated, rofecoxib was prescribed with increasing frequency in family practice; there was a total of 1784 prescriptions for 509 patients. The drug was used increasingly for short durations and for a growing number of indications. Rofecoxib was selectively prescribed to former users of traditional NSAIDs. The occurrence of acute myocardial infarction, stroke or 'transient ischaemic attack' in the follow-up period was associated especially with pre-existing cardiovascular disease, but these complications were also seen more often among patients without pre-existing cardiovascular disease who used rofecoxib than among those who used the traditional NSAIDs (the difference was not significant).


The observations indicate that, via a process of channelling, rofecoxib was prescribed to a highly-specific population of patients who, paradoxically, were at a higher risk of developing the same cardiac complications with which rofecoxib had been shown to be associated in randomised clinical trials.

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