Safety of Etoricoxib, Celecoxib, and Nonselective Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs in Ankylosing Spondylitis and Other Spondyloarthritis Patients: A Swedish National Population-Based Cohort Study

Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2015 Aug;67(8):1137-49. doi: 10.1002/acr.22555.


Objective: Safety data regarding the use of etoricoxib and other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and other spondyloarthritis (SpA) patients are rather limited. Our objective was to estimate and compare rates of gastrointestinal, renovascular, and cardiovascular adverse events in patients exposed to etoricoxib, celecoxib, or nonselective NSAIDs or totally unexposed to NSAIDs.

Methods: We performed a national register-based cohort study on patients with AS or SpA (n = 21,872) identified in the Swedish national patient register from 1987-2009. Treatment exposure was assessed time dependently based on the prescription drug register from 2006-2009, adjusting for sociodemographics and comorbidities derived from national population-based registers.

Results: Exposure to etoricoxib, celecoxib, and nonselective NSAIDs was 7.6%, 3.9%, and 71.2%, respectively. No major risk differences for serious cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, or renal adverse events were seen among the 3 exposure groups. Patients unexposed to NSAIDs had more baseline comorbidities and an increased relative risk for congestive heart failure events during the study period (2.0, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.3-3.2). The relative risk for atherosclerotic events was nonsignificant when compared to the nonselective NSAID group (1.0, 95% CI 0.7-1.5), while the relative risk for gastrointestinal events was lower for unexposed patients (0.5, 95% CI 0.4-0.7).

Conclusion: Overall, serious adverse events related to nonselective NSAIDs, etoricoxib, and celecoxib were similar and in the range of what would be expected in a group of SpA patients. Patients unexposed to NSAIDs had considerably more baseline comorbidities and increased risk for congestive heart failure, reflecting a selection of patients being prescribed NSAIDs in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Celecoxib
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Etoricoxib
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyrazoles / adverse effects*
  • Pyridines / adverse effects*
  • Registries
  • Spondylarthropathies / drug therapy*
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / drug therapy
  • Sulfonamides / adverse effects*
  • Sulfones / adverse effects*
  • Sweden
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyridines
  • Sulfonamides
  • Sulfones
  • Celecoxib
  • Etoricoxib