A new study finds that one type of anti-inflammatory drugs could be better for older people. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly given to older people to relieve arthritis symptoms. The problem is these drugs are associated with an increased risk of gastrointestinal problems. A specialized group of NSAIDs called COX-2 inhibitors have fewer GI problems, but have been associated with heart complications.
Researchers looked more closely at the risks of COX-2 inhibitors compared to others NSAIDs. The research included medical records on more than 130,000 older people. Investigators looked at the risk of heart failure in 14,500 people using the COX-2 inhibitor rofecoxib, around 19,000 people using the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib, and around 5,400 people using other NSAIDs. The study also included 100,000 people who were not on any of the drugs.
It Was found that patients on rofecoxib, also known as VIOXX, had an 80-percent increase in being hospitalized for heart failure compared to non-NSAIDs users and those on non-selective NSAIDs had a 40-percent increased risk of going into the hospital for heart failure. However, those who were taking celecoxib had the same rate of heart failure as the people who had never used NSAIDs.
Thus researchers say that their findings show a clear difference between NSAIDs. However they feel the need to do large clinical randomized trials to examine this issue further due to its wide usage.