Epidemiology of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs consumption in Spain. The MCC-Spain study

BMC Public Health. 2018 Sep 21;18(1):1134. doi: 10.1186/s12889-018-6019-z.


Background: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely used despite their risk of gastrointestinal bleeding or cardiovascular events. We report the profile of people taking NSAIDs in Spain, and we include demographic factors, health-related behaviours and cardiovascular disease history.

Methods: Four thousand sixtyparticipants were selected using a pseudorandom number list from Family Practice lists in 12 Spanish provinces. They completed a face-to-face computerized interview on their NSAID consumption, demographic characteristics, body mass index, alcohol and tobacco consumption and medical history. In addition, participants completed a self-administered food-frequency and alcohol consumption questionnaire. Factors associated with ever and current NSAID consumption were identified by logistic regression.

Results: Women consumed more non-aspirin NSAIDs (38.8% [36.7-41.0]) than men (22.3 [20.5-24.2]), but men consumed more aspirin (11.7% [10.3-13.2]) than women (5.2% [4.3-6.3]). Consumption of non-aspirin NSAIDs decrease with age from 44.2% (39.4-49.1) in younger than 45 to 21.1% (18.3-24.2) in older than 75, but the age-pattern for aspirin usage was the opposite. Aspirin was reported by about 11% patients, as being twice as used in men (11.7%) than in women (5.2%); its consumption increased with age from 1.7% (< 45 years old) to 12.4% (≥75 years old). Aspirin was strongly associated with the presence of cardiovascular risk factors or established cardiovascular disease, reaching odds ratios of 15.2 (7.4-31.2) in women with acute coronary syndrome, 13.3 (6.2-28.3) in women with strokes and 11.1 (7.8-15.9) in men with acute coronary syndrome. Participants with cardiovascular risk factors or diseases consumed as much non-aspirin NSAID as participants without such conditions.

Conclusions: Non-aspirin NSAIDs were more consumed by women and aspirin by men. The age patterns of aspirin and non-aspirin NSAIDs were opposite: the higher the age, the lower the non-aspirin NSAIDs usage and the higher the aspirin consumption. People with cardiovascular risk factors or diseases consumed more aspirin, but they did not decrease their non-aspirin NSAIDs usage.

Keywords: Aspirin; Cardiovascular risk; Gastrointestinal bleeding; Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; Propionates.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Aspirin