Meta-analysis of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors and their effects on blood pressure

Arch Intern Med. 2005 Mar 14;165(5):490-6. doi: 10.1001/archinte.165.5.IOI50013. Epub 2005 Feb 14.


Background: Nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely prescribed and are associated with blood pressure (BP) elevation. The development of selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors (coxibs) raises the issue of the magnitude of BP response compared with nonselective NSAIDs. We therefore performed a meta-analysis comparing the effects of coxibs with placebo, nonselective NSAIDs, and each other on BP elevation and hypertension.

Methods: Nineteen randomized controlled trials involving coxibs were published before May 2004, with a total of 45 451 participants in which BP data were available. The Cohen method statistically combined weighted mean difference (WMD). The Der Simonian and Laird method pooled results concerning the relative risk (RR) of developing hypertension and the RR of clinically important BP elevations.

Results: Among the trials analyzed, coxibs caused a WMD point estimate increase in systolic and diastolic BP compared with placebo (3.85/1.06 mm Hg) and nonselective NSAIDs (2.83/1.34 mm Hg). Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors were associated with a nonsignificantly higher RR of causing hypertension compared with placebo (RR, 1.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.91-2.84; P = .10) and nonselective NSAIDs (RR, 1.25; 95% CI, 0.87-1.78; P = .23). Rofecoxib induced a WMD point estimate increase in systolic BP (2.83 mm Hg) and a nonsignificantly higher risk of developing clinically important systolic BP elevation (RR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.00-2.26; P = .05) compared with celecoxib.

Conclusions: Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors were associated with a point-estimate BP elevation compared with placebo and nonselective NSAIDs. There was a nonsignificantly higher incidence of developing hypertension compared with nonselective NSAIDs, as was observed with rofecoxib compared with celecoxib. These BP elevations may be clinically significant in relation to increased cardiovascular risk.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors