A review of the gastrointestinal safety data--a gastroenterologist's perspective

Angel Lanas


Although NSAIDs have a well-established place for certain indications in the management of OA and RA, they are associated with significant gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity. The risk of NSAID-related upper GI events, such as dyspepsia or peptic ulcer and complications such as perforation or bleeding, is well characterized. Non-selective NSAIDs increase the risk of peptic ulcer disease approximately 5-fold, and that of upper GI bleeding 4-fold, whereas selective cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX) inhibitors are associated with a significantly lower GI toxicity than non-selective agents. There is evidence that, while the incidence of NSAID-related upper GI complications has decreased in recent years, that of lower GI complications is increasing. Observational studies and analyses from studies, primarily designed to investigate upper GI events, suggest that lower GI complications are relatively common in NSAID users and that COX-2 selective inhibitors are associated with a lower risk of these events. Such events have been poorly characterized, but are associated with significant mortality; indeed, they may have even more serious consequences than the better characterized upper GI events. There is thus a strong case for evaluating the impact of ...Continue Reading


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