The gastrointestinal side-effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are well established. However, the cost of managing these side-effects has previously been unclear.
Dr Elham Rahme and colleagues reviewed the records of 12,082 elderly NSAID users on the Regie de l'assurance-maladie du Quebec (RAMQ) database.
The review found that 217 of the 12,082 patients (1.8%) were hospitalized for gastrointestinal problems. 3257 patients (27.0%) used gastroprotective agents and 801 (6.6%) had diagnostic gastrointestinal tests.
Dr Rahme's team compared the costs of GI side-effects for a patient on NSAIDs with those of a patient not on NSAIDs.
| Cost of GI side-effects per patient day|
0.94 Canadian dollars
0.62 US Dollars
0.43 Pounds sterling
The average direct cost of GI side-effects per patient day was 3.5 times higher for a patient taking NSAIDs. This represented an extra cost of 0.94 Canadian dollars per patient day.
Dr Rahme suggests that "Safer therapies and appropriate patient risk management may potentially reduce NSAID related health care resource use."