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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Nov;32(10):1240-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2010.04465.x. Epub 2010 Sep 23.

Risk factors for NSAID-associated upper GI clinical events in a long-term prospective study of 34 701 arthritis patients.

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University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.



Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)-related GI effects vary based on patient characteristics.


To assess risk factors for NSAID-associated upper GI clinical events and dyspepsia.


Patients ≥50 years with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis were randomized to etoricoxib or diclofenac in a prespecified intent-to-treat analysis of three double-blind randomized trials. Potential risk factors for upper GI clinical events (bleeding, perforation, obstruction, or ulcer), complicated events (perforation, obstruction, bleeding) and discontinuations due to dyspepsia were assessed with Cox proportional hazard models.


Significant predictors of clinical events and complicated events included age ≥65 years [hazards ratios (HRs) = 2.25 (1.84-2.76), 4.09 (2.82-5.92)], prior event [HRs = 2.57 (1.94-3.39), 3.23 (2.09-5.00)], low-dose aspirin [HRs = 2.34 (1.87-2.92), 3.41 (2.33-5.00)] and corticosteroid [HRs = 1.85 (1.41-2.43), 2.09 (1.29-3.38)]. Predictors of discontinuation due to dyspepsia included prior dyspepsia [HR = 1.78 (1.44-2.00)], prior event [HR = 1.78 (1.40-2.27)] and age ≥65 years [HR = 1.35 (1.16-1.57)].


Assessment for age ≥65 years, prior upper GI clinical events and low-dose aspirin use are key in identifying patients who should either avoid NSAIDs or employ management strategies to reduce NSAID-associated upper GI events. Prior dyspepsia or upper GI clinical events and age ≥65 years also predict an increased risk of developing dyspepsia severe enough to necessitate discontinuation of NSAIDs.

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