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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Coxibs for patients on low dose aspirin?

The Lancet has published a review article that aims to assess whether patients who are at risk of cardiovascular events and are taking low dose aspirin as prophylaxis would be better taking a standard non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) or a COX-II selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (Coxib).

The summary of the article admits that arriving at conclusions in this area is difficult because:

  • Trials have not answered directly whether low-dose aspirin is cardioprotective when combined with coxibs
  • Comparing cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risks is difficult
  • The likelihood and severity of cardiovascular events differ between individuals
  • The cardiovascular risk posed by all NSAIDs varies by agent and exposure
  • Mortality associated with gastrointestinal events is less frequent

Despite all of this the article concludes that, "data support the conclusion that COX-2 inhibitors are preferable to non-selective NSAIDs in patients with chronic pain and cardiovascular risk needing low-dose aspirin". However, it is also stated that risks and benefits need to be assessed individually.

The article does not appear to assess the place of using a standard NSAID with a gastroprotective agent such as a proton pump inhibitor unlike the recent MeReC Extra that covered the same topic.

Action: This recent article adds nothing new to the NSAID debate. Clinicians would be better served reading the MeReC Extra when looking for a balanced assessment of the risks and benefits of NSAID and coxibs.

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One Comment to “Coxibs for patients on low dose aspirin?”

  1. Read all about it

    The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has published Drug Safety Update Issue 6 (PDF).

    Hat tip: Matt

    Trackback by Trusted.MD Network — January 8, 2008 #

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