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Comments, Opinions, and Brief Case Reports
May 09, 2005

Are Cyclooxygenase-2 Inhibitors Being Taken Only by Those Who Need Them?

Arch Intern Med. 2005;165(9):1066-1067. doi:10.1001/archinte.165.9.1066

Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors were developed in response to the tendency of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to cause gastrointestinal bleeding.1 Concerns about cardiovascular safety were raised about rofecoxib in an early clinical trial; this drug was recently withdrawn after it was shown to increase the risk of myocardial infarction in a long-term cancer prevention trial. Similar concerns have arisen with valdecoxib and celecoxib. In the controversy surrounding these drugs,2 an important question is how much they have been used by individuals at low risk of gastrointestinal complications who might safely take traditional NSAIDs. We have explored this in a US population–based survey of medication use.

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