Association of esophagitis and esophageal strictures with diseases treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Am J Gastroenterol. 1997 Jan;92(1):52-6.


Background: It has been speculated that intake of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) represents a risk factor for the occurrence of esophagitis and esophageal strictures.

Methods: A case-control study was conducted to compare the occurrence of comorbid diseases treated with NSAIDs in case and control subjects with and without esophageal disease, respectively. The case population was comprised of all patients with esophagitis (International Classification of Diseases code 530.1) or esophageal stricture (code 530.3) who were discharged from hospitals of the Department of Veteran Affairs between 1981 and 1994. In separate multivariate logistic regressions, the occurrence of esophagitis or esophageal stricture served as the outcome variable, and age, gender, ethnicity, and comorbid occurrence of an NSAID-related diagnosis served as modifier variables.

Results: A total of 101,366 individual case subjects were included, of whom 92,860 presented with esophagitis and 14,201 with stricture. The occurrence of erosive esophagitis was associated with osteoarthritis (odds ratio = 1.42, 95% confidence interval = 1.36-1.48), osteoporosis (1.38, 1.25-1.52), back pain (1.49, 1.42-1.56), femur bone fracture (1.46, 0.92-2.32), fibrositis (1.57, 1.41-1.75), tension headache (1.34, 1.27-1.40), ankylosing spondylitis (1.33, 1.24-1.42), rheumatoid arthritis (1.13, 1.05-1.21), sicca syndrome (1.15, 1.05-1.26), and systemic sclerosis (6.16, 4.65-8.14). NSAID-related diagnoses represented similar risk factors for both esophagitis and esophageal stricture.

Conclusions: A large variety of diseases treated by NSAIDs are associated with a significantly increased risk of esophageal erosion or stricture; the risk appears similar for both of these. In some comorbid conditions, the underlying disease process may contribute to the occurrence of esophageal pathology.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis / complications
  • Arthritis / drug therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / complications*
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / drug therapy
  • Esophageal Stenosis / chemically induced
  • Esophageal Stenosis / complications*
  • Esophagitis / chemically induced
  • Esophagitis / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / complications*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Osteoporosis / complications
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / complications
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / drug therapy


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal