Abstract: Longer Use of COX-2-Specific Inhibitors Compared to Nonspecific Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs: A Longitudinal Study of 3639 Patients in Community Practice

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J Rheumatol. 2004 Feb;31(2):355-8.

Wolfe F, Michaud K, Burke TA, Zhao SZ.

National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases-Arthritis Research Center Foundation, Wichita, Kansas, USA.

OBJECTIVE: To compare COX-2-specific inhibitor therapy with conventional nonspecific nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NS NSAID), and investigate the effect of demographic and disease factors on NSAID duration of use.

METHODS: A total of 3639 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia starting therapy of celecoxib, rofecoxib, naproxen, or ibuprofen were surveyed at 6-month intervals for up to 2.5 years. Detailed demographic and disease severity variables were also measured. Time to discontinuation, discontinuation rates, and effect of covariates were determined by Weibull parametric survival analyses, controlling for a wide variety of demographic and disease severity factors.

RESULTS: The median duration of use for celecoxib, rofecoxib, naproxen, and ibuprofen was 15, 13, 10, and 10 months, respectively. Duration of use of celecoxib and rofecoxib, as measured by survival times, was significantly longer than those of naproxen and ibuprofen. The celecoxib survival time was significantly longer than the rofecoxib survival time (p = 0.005). Disease severity was not associated with survival times, but survival was related to younger age and male sex. In addition, ulcer diagnosis was a strong predictor of early termination. After adjustment for severity, survival times for RA and non-RA patients were the same.

CONCLUSION: COX-2-specific inhibitors have a longer duration of use than NS NSAID. Among the COX-2-specific inhibitors, celecoxib has a longer survival time than rofecoxib. In addition, COX-2-specific inhibitors also have longer survival times than noted in the literature of NS NSAID in RA community practice. Duration of use can be an indicator of treatment effectiveness and/or drug acceptability, and provides additional interpretation beyond the results of clinical trials.

PMID: 14760808 [PubMed – in process]

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