Aims: To assess hospital admission rates for gastrointestinal (GI) or cardiovascular (CV) events in real-life use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Methods: CADEUS is a real-life population-based cohort study of 23 535 coxib (celecoxib or rofecoxib) and 22 919 traditional NSAID (tNSAID) users. Each hospitalization reported between index day (NSAID delivery) and questionnaire submission (median = 75 days) was explored using hospital discharge summaries. An expert committee validated blindly serious GI and CV events according to predefined criteria.
Results: Coxib users were older and had more GI history than tNSAID users. There were 21 hospitalizations for GI events, 12 in the coxib cohort and nine in the tNSAID cohort (respectively one and three upper GI haemorrhages and no ulcer perforations). Rates of GI events were 0.39 per 1000 patients [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.18, 0.75] for tNSAID users and 0.51 per 1000 patients (95% CI 0.26, 0.89) for coxib users. There were 21 hospitalizations for CV events, 13 in the coxib cohort and eight in the tNSAID cohort. None was fatal. Rates of CV events were, respectively, 0.59 (95% CI 0.24, 1.22), 0.51 (95% CI 0.19, 1.11) and 0.35 (95% CI 0.15, 0.69) per 1000 patients for celecoxib, rofecoxib and tNSAIDs. GI or CV event rates were not different between products even for patients >60 years old.
Conclusions: Hospitalization rates for GI bleeding were 10-20 times lower than expected from published randomized clinical trials, probably because of differences in drug usage and concomitant gastroprotection. CV event rates conformed to those expected from general population data. These results emphasize the necessity of developing population healthcare databases to explore such low event rates.