NSAIDs utilization for musculoskeletal indications in elderly patients with cerebro/cardiovascular disease

Fini Massimo, Bonassi Stefano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To describe NSAID utilization for musculoskeletal conditions in a large cohort of Italian elderly with cerebro/cardiovascular disease, a population in which NSAIDs should be generally avoided due to the prothrombotic potential.

METHODS: Administrative data from five Italian geographic areas were analyzed. Patients aged ≥ 65 with a cerebro/cardiovascular event recorded between 2008 and 2011 (cohort entry) were selected. Prescription NSAIDs reimbursed for musculoskeletal conditions and dispensed during 1 year follow-up were retrieved to describe (i) prevalence of use, (ii) average amount of defined daily doses of NSAIDs claimed by users per day of follow-up, and (iii) distribution of the received daily dose (RDD) among patients with ≥ 2 dispensings. Among new users, i.e., patients without NSAID dispensings during 2 years before cohort entry, the first dispensed NSAID molecule was observed.

RESULTS: Overall, 511,989 patients were selected. Across the five geographic areas, prevalence of use ranged from 48 to 21% and average consumption ranged between 30 and 67 DDD/1000 users/day. Around 10% of patients in the overall cohort had a RDD > 1. Nimesulide (9.6%) and diclofenac (7.5%) had the highest prevalence of use. The most consumed NSAIDs were nimesulide and coxibs with 10.6 and 7.5 DDD/1000 users/day, respectively. Among new users recruited in 2011, 30% had diclofenac or a coxibs as the first prescription.

CONCLUSIONS: NSAID use was common in the study cohort, particularly in central-southern areas. In contrast with current recommendations, coxibs and diclofenac were among the most prescribed active principles, even in new users. Interventions to promote appropriateness of use are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-643
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal/therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/drug therapy
  • Drug Utilization/statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases/drug therapy


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