Study: Celebrex less likely to cause GI issues than other NSAIDs

NEW YORK Arthritis patients at risk of harmful gastrointestinal side effects due to use of a class of pain relievers fared better when taking a drug made by Pfizer than when taking two other drugs, according to results of a study released Thursday.

Pfizer said the “CONDOR” study showed that arthritis patients prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs -- a class that includes the common pain reliever ibuprofen -- showed lower incidence of gastrointestinal side effects when taking Celebrex (celecoxib) than those taking omeprazole plus diclofenac. Results of the study were published online in medical journal The Lancet.

NSAIDs are among the most widely prescribed drugs for arthritis, but their use often is associated with such gastrointestinal side effects as ulcers, perforations and hemorrhage.

“Physicians are aware of the potential for damage to the upper GI tract with NSAID use, however a growing body of evidence suggests that NSAID-induced GI toxicity also extends to the lower GI tract,” said Francis Chan, lead study investigator and medical professor at Hong Kong’s Chinese University.

The study, conducted on more than 4,400 patients in 32 countries, was conducted to evaluate NSAID-related gastrointestinal side effects by examining the upper and lower GI tract. It is the first large-scale, double-blind, randomized study to assess two common treatment strategies for arthritis patients at increased gastrointestinal risk, Pfizer said.

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