Co-prescription of gastroprotective agents in patients taking non-selective NSAIDs or COX-2 selective inhibitors: Analysis of prescriptions

L. Pasina, A. Nobili, M. Tettamanti, E. Riva, U. Lucca, R. Piccinelli, L. Defendi, L. Perego, S. Lucifora, C. Bulla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of co-prescription of GPAs (proton pump inhibitors - PPIs and H2-receptor antagonists) and non-selective NSAIDs or COXIBs in patients registered under the local health authority (LHA) of Bergamo, a city in the north of Italy. Methods: A drug utilization analysis was done using the Bergamo prescription Health Services Electronic Database. All patients aged 35 years or older who had received at least one prescription during 2004 for non-selective NSAIDs and/or COXIBs were divided into three groups: occasional, chronic and new users. Results: Among chronic users, 44.8% were treated with non-selective NSAIDs, 11.6% with COXIBs, and 43.6% with both (mixed NSAIDs). For new users, non-selective NSAIDs were prescribed to 82.7%, COXIBs and mixed NSAIDs to 10.8% and 6.5%. PPIs were co-prescribed to 7.1% of COXIB users and 5.8% of non-selective NSAID occasional users. Among chronic users, the figures were 15.6% and 14%. For new users, prescriptions for COXIBs were associated with less use of GPA for patients who received the first and last prescription for NSAIDs and GPAs on the same day, while for patients who became chronic users COXIBs did not reduce the probability of co-prescription of a GPA: the number of co-prescribed medications and antithrombotics or corticosteroids were independent predictors of GPA use. Conclusions: COXIBs seem to be used in patients at high risk of GI toxicity. However, the fear of GI adverse reactions and the uncertain safety profile of COXIBs leads many physicians to boost the gastroprotection by prescribing a PPI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-743
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • Drug utilization study
  • Gastroprotective agents
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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