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Pediatr Rheumatol Online J. 2010 Feb 4;8:7. doi: 10.1186/1546-0096-8-7.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: A survey of practices and concerns of pediatric medical and surgical specialists and a summary of available safety data.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology, The Hospital for Sick Children and The University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



To examine the prescribing habits of NSAIDs among pediatric medical and surgical practitioners, and to examine concerns and barriers to their use.


A sample of 1289 pediatricians, pediatric rheumatologists, sports medicine physicians, pediatric surgeons and pediatric orthopedic surgeons in the United States and Canada were sent an email link to a 22-question web-based survey.


338 surveys (28%) were completed, 84 were undeliverable. Of all respondents, 164 (50%) had never prescribed a selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) NSAID. The most common reasons for ever prescribing an NSAID were musculoskeletal pain, soft-tissue injury, fever, arthritis, fracture, and headache. Compared to traditional NSAIDs, selective COX-2 NSAIDs were believed to be as safe (42%) or safer (24%); have equal (52%) to greater efficacy (20%) for pain; have equal (59%) to greater efficacy (15%) for inflammation; and have equal (39%) to improved (44%) tolerability. Pediatric rheumatologists reported significantly more frequent abdominal pain (81% vs. 23%), epistaxis (13% vs. 2%), easy bruising (64% vs. 8%), headaches (21% vs. 1%) and fatigue (12% vs. 1%) for traditional NSAIDs than for selective COX-2 NSAIDs. Prescribing habits of NSAIDs have changed since the voluntary withdrawal of rofecoxib and valdecoxib; 3% of pediatric rheumatologists reported giving fewer traditional NSAID prescriptions, and while 57% reported giving fewer selective COX-2 NSAIDs, 26% reported that they no longer prescribed these medications.


Traditional and selective COX-2 NSAIDs were perceived as safe by pediatric specialists. The data were compared to the published pediatric safety literature.

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