Clinical trials have suggested that cyclo-oxygenase-2-selective inhibitors are associated with a lower risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding than are non-selective, non-aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This has not yet been confirmed in studies of patients with an increased susceptibility to upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
To examine the risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding in high-risk patients who filled prescriptions for cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
A population-based case-control study was performed in the Danish county of North Jutland from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2002. From the County Hospital Discharge Registry and the Civil Registration System, we identified incident cases with upper gastrointestinal bleeding (n = 780) and randomly selected controls (n = 2906), respectively. All cases and controls had previous gastrointestinal diseases. Data on drug exposure were obtained from the countywide Prescription Database.
Thirty-five cases (4.5%) filled prescriptions for cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors within 30 days of the date of upper gastrointestinal bleeding, compared with 79 controls (2.7%). Adjusted odds ratios for upper gastrointestinal bleeding according to prescription for celecoxib, rofecoxib and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were 1.3 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.7-2.8], 2.1 (95% CI, 1.2-3.5) and 3.3 (95% CI, 2.4-4.4), respectively.
In patients with increased susceptibility to gastrointestinal adverse events, a lower risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding was observed in users of cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors compared with users of other non-aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.