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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Oct;34(7):808-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2011.04790.x. Epub 2011 Aug 2.

Haemoglobin decreases in NSAID users over time: an analysis of two large outcome trials.

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Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.



Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been associated with clinically significant decreases in haemoglobin dependent and independent of acute bleeding events.


To evaluate the incidence and time to a clinically meaningful decrease in haemoglobin in two double-blind, prospective randomised clinical trials comparing NSAIDs in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA).


In CLASS, patients with OA/RA who were aged ≥ 18 years and required continuous NSAID treatment were included; patients who were Helicobacter pylori positive and/or using aspirin were not excluded. In contrast, in the CONDOR trial, comparing celecoxib alone to diclofenac sustained release (plus omeprazole), patients were aged ≥ 60 years or ≥ 18 years with a history of gastroduodenal ulcer and were H. pylori negative; aspirin or other anti-platelet users were excluded. To make a parallel post hoc analysis we limited our study to 6 months and the populations to only the non-aspirin users in CLASS and those patients receiving either celecoxib or diclofenac. A decrease in haemoglobin of ≥ 2 g/dL defined the primary end point.


At 6 months, in the CLASS and CONDOR trials, 1.9% and 2.0% of patients treated with celecoxib and 3.3% and 5.7% of patients treated with diclofenac developed a ≥ 2 g/dL decrease in haemoglobin, respectively, [CLASS: odds ratio (OR) 1.80 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.22-2.65) and CONDOR: OR 2.93 (95% CI, 2.06-4.15), respectively].


IN these two large, independent trials, clinically-meaningful decreases in haemoglobin ≥ 2 g/dL occurred in a relatively similar fashion over time despite differences in trial designs.

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