Home Original News NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, Vioxx, etc.) increases risk of death from ulcers
NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, Vioxx, etc.) increases risk of death from ulcers PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Monday, 18 December 2006 00:00

A peptic ulcer is a sore on the lining of the stomach or duodenum, which is the beginning of the small intestine. According to the CDC one out of ten Americans will suffer from a peptic ulcer during their lifetime. Ulcers cause an estimated 1 million hospitalizations and approximately 6,500 deaths each year. In the United States, annual health care costs of peptic ulcer disease have been estimated at nearly $6 billion: $3 billion in hospitalization costs, $2 billion in physician office visits, and $1 billion in decreased productivity and days lost from work. 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, are commonly used as a treatment for common pain and conditions such as arthritis. Although this class of medication has been shown to be only have a modest symptomatic benefit over placebo, these medicines constitute one of the most widely used class of drugs, with more than 70 million prescriptions and more than 30 billion over-the-counter tablets sold annually in the United States alone. 

Newer NSAIDs known as COX-2 were developed to limit the adverse gastrointestinal effects seen with chronic NSAID therapy. COX-2 NSAIDs include the brands Vioxx and Celebrex. 

A 1998 study determined that over 16,000 NSAID-related deaths occur each year in the United States from gastrointestinal bleeding in the treatment of arthritis. While there is strong evidence that NSAID use increases the risk of peptic ulcer complications there is little data on the outcome to NSAID users in the peptic ulcer perforation. A peptic ulcer perforation is a hole that occurs in the stomach or duodenum. A new study in the journal American Journal of Gastroenterology examines the risk of death from this peptic ulcer perforation in users of NSAIDs.

The study authors examined the records of a number of hospitals from 1991 to 2003. They examined the 30-day risk of death after peptic ulcer perforation among users of COX-2 and traditional NSAIDs. 

They found that traditional NSAIDs increased the risk of death from peptic ulcer perforation by 70% compared to non-NSAID users. Also, despite being developed to minimize gastrointestinal effects COX-2 NSAIDs increased the risk of death by 100%. “We found that current NSAID use predicts poor survival for patients hospitalized with peptic ulcer perforation. Use of newer COX-2 inhibitors rendered a similarly greater mortality.” 

An earlier 1987 study has found similar results with the authors finding the death rate from peptic ulcer perforation for NSAID users was double that of patients not taking these drugs. 

The authors conclude, “This study provides evidence of an association between current use of NSAIDs, including newer COX-2 inhibitors and 30-day mortality from peptic ulcer perforation.”

Source: American Journal of Gastroenterology, October 2006


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