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Study Confirms Rofecoxib Increases Cardiovascular Events

However, naproxen decreases the rate, and other coxibs and NSAIDs do not appear to change rate

MONDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) -- Rofecoxib and naproxen both have an effect on the rate of cardiovascular events, with rofecoxib increasing the rate and naproxen decreasing it, according to a study in the May issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Daniel H. Solomon, M.D., M.P.H., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues identified 74,838 users of coxibs or nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) from a pool of Medicare beneficiaries who were part of a state-run prescription plan that covered both classes of drugs with no restrictions. They also identified 23,532 users of other drugs to serve as a comparison group.

Rofecoxib was found to produce an increase in the rate of cardiovascular events (RR 1.15) that began within 60 days of starting the drug and persisted. The effect was observed in patients with both high and low cardiovascular risk. Naproxen, on the other hand, significantly reduced the rate (RR 0.75). None of the other drugs produced a significant change in the rate of cardiovascular events.

"In this observational study, we have confirmed the findings of prior studies that showed an increased rate of cardiovascular events associated with rofecoxib and a decreased rate associated with naproxen," the authors conclude.

The study was supported by a research grant from Pfizer.

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