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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Prescription channeling of COX-2 inhibitors and traditional nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: a population-based case–control study

Yola Moride1234*, Thierry Ducruet12, Jean-François Boivin23, Nicholas Moore4, Sylvie Perreault1 and Sean Zhao5

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Pharmacy, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada

2 Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, SMBD Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Canada

3 Joint Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

4 Department of Pharmacology, Université Victor Segalen, Bordeaux, France

5 Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Pharmacia Corporation, Paepack, New Jersey, USA

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Arthritis Res Ther 2005, 7:R333-R342  doi:10.1186/ar1488

Published: 17 January 2005


This pharmacoepidemiologic study was conducted to determine whether risk factors for upper gastrointestinal bleeding influenced the prescription of cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitors and traditional nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) at the time when COX-2 inhibitors were first included in the formulary of reimbursed medications. A population-based case–control study was conducted in which the prevalence of risk factors and the medical histories of patients prescribed COX-2 inhibitors and traditional nonselective NSAIDs were compared. The study population consisted of a random sample of members of the Quebec drug plan (age 18 years or older) who received at least one dispensation of celecoxib (n = 42,422; cases), rofecoxib (n = 25,674; cases), or traditional nonselective NSAIDs (n = 12,418; controls) during the year 2000. All study data were obtained from the Quebec health care databases. Adjusting for income level, Chronic Disease Score, prior use of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid, acetaminophen, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, prescriber specialty, and time period, the following factors were significantly associated with the prescription of COX-2 inhibitors: age 75 years or older (odds ratio [OR] 4.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.95–4.51), age 55–74 years (OR 3.23, 95% CI 3.06–3.40), female sex (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.45–1.58), prior diagnosis of gastropathy (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.08–1.36) and prior dispensation of gastroprotective agents (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.47–1.67). Patients who received a traditional nonselective NSAID recently were more likely to switch to a coxib, especially first-time users (OR 2.17, 95% CI 1.93–2.43). Associations were significantly greater for celecoxib than rofecoxib for age, chronic NSAID use, and last NSAID use between 1 and 3 months before the index date. At the time of introduction of COX-2 inhibitors into the formulary, prescription channeling could confound risk comparisons across products.

administrative health care databases; COX-2 inhibitors; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; pharmacoepidemiology; prescription channeling