Meta-analysis of Dyspepsia and Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs

Published in: Arthritis and Rheumatism, v. 49, no. 4, Aug. 2003, p. 508-518

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2002

by Joshua J. Ofman, Catherine MacLean, Walter L. Straus, Sally C. Morton, Marc L. Berger, Beth Roth, Paul G. Shekelle

OBJECTIVE: Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) use is a known risk factor for gastrointestinal (GI) perforations, ulcers, and bleeds, but there are limited data on its association with the very common symptom of dyspepsia. Using published and unpublished data sources, the authors sought to determine estimates of the risks of dyspepsia associated with NSAIDs. METHODS: The authors searched computerized databases (1966-1998) for primary studies of NSAIDs reporting on GI complications. They also obtained Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new drug application reviews for the 5 most common NSAIDs. The authors included studies reporting defined upper GI outcomes among subjects (>17 years old) who used oral NSAIDs for more than 4 days. Two reviewers evaluated 4,881 published titles, identifying 55 NSAID versus placebo randomized controlled trials (RCTs), 37 unpublished (FDA data) placebo-controlled RCTs; 86 NSAID versus NSAID RCTs (sample size >or=50); and 103 observational studies. RESULTS: The majority of clinical trials were of good quality. Meta-regression identified an increased risk of dyspepsia for users of specific NSAIDs (adjusted odds ratio [OR] of indomethacin, meclofenamate, piroxicam = 2.8), and for high dosages of other NSAIDs (OR = 3.1), but not for other NSAIDs regardless of dosage (OR = 1.1). Dyspepsia was not reported as an outcome in the case control or cohort studies. CONCLUSIONS: Clinical trial data indicate that high dosages of any NSAID along with any dosage of indomethacin, meclofenamate, or piroxicam increase the risk of dyspepsia by about 3-fold. Other NSAIDs at lower dosages were not associated with an increased risk of dyspepsia.

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