OBJECTIVES: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are relatively contraindicated in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for fear of disease aggravation. Cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors have fewer GI side effects than traditional NSAIDs in unselected patients. We report the safety of these agents in patients with IBD. METHODS: Patients with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or pouchitis who used celecoxib or rofecoxib were identified from computerized prescription records. A retrospective chart review was conducted. Concomitant medications, past NSAID use, indication for cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, dose, and duration were obtained. IBD disease activity before cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor use was graded using a modified disease activity index. Change in disease activity was graded as improved, no change, or worsened. Patients were contacted to provide data not found in the charts. The proportion of patients receiving cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors who experienced exacerbation of IBD was determined. RESULTS: Eleven patients were treated with celecoxib (median dose = 200 mg/day), and 16 patients were treated with rofecoxib (median dose = 25 mg/day). Median duration of therapy was 9 months (range = 1 wk-22 months). The drug was beneficial in 14 patients, of partial benefit in eight, and of no benefit in five. Two patients (7.4%) (95% CI = 2-23%) had aggravations of IBD. Three patients (11 %) had other adverse events (renal insufficiency, rash, and asymptomatic colonic ulceration). All adverse events were reversible. CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary results suggest that cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors may be safe and beneficial in most patients with IBD. A placebo-controlled trial to confirm these preliminary observations is needed.
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