Background: Gastroprotective strategies are recommended for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) users at risk of upper gastrointestinal (UGI) complications.
Aim: To compare the use of gastroprotective strategies in NSAID users in three countries, and the subsequent impact of rofecoxib withdrawal.
Methods: We conducted a population-based cohort study in three general practice (GP) databases: (i) United Kingdom's (UK) GP Research Database (1998-2008); (ii) Italy's (IT) Health Search/CSD Longitudinal Patient Database (2000-2007); and (iii) the Dutch (NL) Integrated Primary Care Information database (1996-2006). Study cohorts comprised incident NSAID users ≥50 years. Preventive strategies included: (i) co-prescription of gastroprotective agents; or (ii) cyclooxygenase-2-selective inhibitor use. Under-use was defined as no gastroprotection in patients with ≥1 UGI risk factor (history of UGI event, age ≥65 years, concomitant use of anticoagulants, antiplatelets or glucocorticoids). Interrupted time-series analysis was performed to assess the impact of rofecoxib withdrawal on preventive strategies.
Results: The study populations consisted of 384 649 UK, 177 747 IT and 55 004 NL NSAID users. In UK, under-use of preventive strategies fell from 91% to 71% [linear trend (lt) P = 0.001], in NL from 92% to 58% (lt P < 0.001) and in IT from 90% to 76% (lt P = 0.38) in high-risk NSAID users. In 2000 and 2006, under-use was significantly lower in NL compared with UK and IT (P < 0.001) in high-risk users. After rofecoxib's withdrawal, under-use increased significantly in UK and NL.
Conclusions: The prescription of gastropreventive strategies followed a similar pattern across countries. Despite a temporary negative effect of rofecoxib withdrawal on under-use, improvement of gastroprotection with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs was observed.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.