Objective: To evaluate the effects of cardiovascular comorbidities and aspirin coprescription on cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitor (coxib) prescribing patterns among rheumatologists.
Methods: A prospective cohort study was carried out with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis patients in the Consortium of Rheumatology Researchers of North America registry. Medication and comorbidity data were obtained prospectively from physician and patient questionnaires between March 2002 and September 2003. Multivariate adjusted associations between coxib use and specific cardiovascular variables, including aspirin use, were examined.
Results: A total of 3,522 arthritis patients were included. COX inhibitors, including coxibs, nonselective nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and meloxicam, were prescribed to a larger proportion of osteoarthritis patients (68.4%) than rheumatoid arthritis patients (47.1%) in our study (P < 0.001). COX inhibitors were prescribed to the majority of aspirin users (51.5%) and a similar proportion of nonusers (49.8%). In multivariate analyses, independent predictors of coxib use versus nonselective NSAID use included diagnoses of osteoarthritis (odds ratio [OR] 2.52, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.81-3.52) and diabetes (OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.06-2.51). Conversely, aspirin use independently predicted selection of a nonselective NSAID rather than a coxib (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.55-0.98). Neither a history of myocardial infarction nor stroke predicted utilization of a coxib. Similarly, cardiovascular variables did not predict the use of rofecoxib versus celecoxib.
Conclusion: Our data indicate that COX inhibitor coprescription among aspirin users is frequent. Despite cardiovascular concerns regarding the coxibs, our data suggest that aspirin use, but not cardiovascular comorbidities, predicted the selection of nonselective NSAIDs over coxibs.