Recent Considerations in Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug Gastropathy
SOURCE: American Journal of Medicine 1998 (Jul 27); 105 (1B): 31S–38S
Gurkirpal Singh, MD
Department of Medicine, ARAMIS Postmarketing Surveillance Program,
Stanford University of Medicine, Palo Alto, California 94303, USA
Conservative calculations estimate that approximately 107,000 patients are hospitalized annually for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-related gastrointestinal (GI) complications (internal bleeding) and at least 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone.
The figures for all NSAID users would be overwhelming, yet the scope of this problem is generally under-appreciated (and under-reported!).
In the following year the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine published a similar statement:
“It has been estimated conservatively that 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur among patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis every year in the United States. This figure is similar to the number of deaths from the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and is considerably greater than the number of deaths from multiple myeloma, asthma, cervical cancer, or Hodgkin’s disease. If deaths from gastrointestinal toxic effects from NSAIDs were tabulated separately in the National Vital Statistics reports, these effects would constitute the 15th most common cause of death in the United States. Yet these toxic effects remain mainly a “silent epidemic,” with many physicians and most patients unaware of the magnitude of the problem.
Furthermore, these mortality statistics do not include deaths ascribed to the use of over-the-counter NSAIDS.”
Another statement that just happened to catch my eye:
On the basis of these conservative figures and ARAMIS data, the annual number of hospitalizations in the United States for serious gastrointestinal complications is estimated to be at least 103,000. At an estimated cost of $15,000 to $20,000 per hospitalization, the annual direct costs of such complications exceed $2 billion. 
Thanks to the American Nutrition Association
for access to this picture!
The Arthritis, Rheumatism, and Aging Medical Information System (ARAMIS) Post-Marketing Surveillance Program (PMS) has prospectively followed patient status and outcomes, drug side effects, and the economic impact of illness for >11,000 arthritis patients at 8 participating institutions in the United States and Canada.
Analysis of these data indicates that:
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