Background: In this article, the authors examine the available scientific evidence regarding adverse effects of short-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Short-term use was defined as 10 days or fewer.
Methods: The authors reviewed randomized controlled clinical trials and cohort and case-controlled clinical studies published between 2001 and June 2015 in which the investigators reported on the safety of nonselective cyclooxygenase inhibitors and of cyclooxygenase-2 selective inhibitor NSAIDs.
Results: The systematic review process according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines allowed the authors to identify 40 studies that met the inclusion criteria.
Conclusions: On the basis of the available scientific evidence, NSAIDs may be considered relatively safe drugs when prescribed at the most effective dose and for the shortest duration of time, which was defined to be 10 days or fewer.
Practical implications: Although the US Food and Drug Administration recommends the use of NSAIDs beyond 10 days to be accompanied by a consultation with a health care provider, the use of NSAIDs may be considered relatively safe when prescribed at the most effective dose and for the shortest duration of time, which was defined as 10 days or fewer. Exceptions would be for patients at risk of developing NSAID-exacerbated respiratory disease, patients with prior myocardial infarction who are receiving antithrombotic therapy, patients with asthma, and patients with a history of renal disease.
Keywords: NSAIDs; cardiovascular risk; case-controlled studies; cohort studies; gastrointestinal; myocardial infarction; randomized controlled clinical trials; renal; respiratory; vascular events.
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