Background: Non-selective, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are associated with an increased risk of congestive heart failure, but little is known about the cardiovascular effects of a newer group of NSAIDS called selective cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitors. We aimed to compare rates of admission for congestive heart failure in elderly patients who were newly dispensed COX-2 inhibitors or non-selective NSAIDs.
Methods: In this population-based retrospective cohort study we identified NSAID-naive individuals aged 66 years or older, who were started on rofecoxib (n=14,583), celecoxib (n=18,908), and non-selective NSAIDs (n=5,391), and randomly selected non-NSAID users as controls (n=100,000).
Findings: Relative to non-NSAID users, patients on rofecoxib and non-selective NSAIDS had an increased risk of admission for congestive heart failure (adjusted rate ratio 1.8, 95% CI 1.5-2.2, and 1.4, 1.0-1.9, respectively), but not celecoxib (1.0, 0.8-1.3). Compared with celecoxib users, admission was significantly more likely in users of non-selective NSAIDs (1.4, 1.0-1.9) and rofecoxib (1.8, 1.4-2.4). Risk of admission for rofecoxib users was higher than that for non-selective NSAID users (1.5, 1.1-2.1). Of patients with no admission in the past 3 years, only rofecoxib users were at increased risk of subsequent admission relative to controls (1.8, 1.4-2.3).
Interpretation: These findings suggest a higher risk of admission for congestive heart failure in users of rofecoxib and non-selective NSAIDs, but not celecoxib, relative to non-NSAID controls.