The effect of low-dose aspirin on the decreased risk of development of dyspepsia and gastrointestinal ulcers associated to cyclooxygenase-2 selective inhibitors

Elizabeth Benito-Garcia, Kaleb Michaud, Frederick Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Objective. To evaluate the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and ulcers associated to the use of low-dose aspirin (ASA) among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) treated with cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) drugs, to clarify the controversy in the literature. Methods. Using a longitudinal databank, a prospective study using Cox proportional hazards models was performed in patients receiving COX-2 therapy for RA or OA to examine the effect of ASA on GI events. In 4 separate analyses patients reported dyspeptic symptoms and GI ulcers at semiannual intervals for up to 3 years. Ulcers were validated by review of medical records. Results. Among 4240 patients taking COX-2-specific inhibitors, with no ulcer at study start, the age-and sex-adjusted hazard ratios for the effect of ASA on the development of epigastric pain, heartburn, nausea, and ulcers, without these previous events, were 1.11 (95% CI 0.97-1.29), 1.00 (95% CI 0.88-1.15), 1.32 (95% CI 1.13-1.54), and 1.27 (95% CI 0.78-2.05). The use of a propensity score to account for the risk of ASA prescription showed an even lower effect of ASA among all GI variables. This risk occurs within the setting of no prior GI symptoms or GI events, and independently of the use of proton pump inhibitors, other GI drugs, other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, prednisone, or methotrexate. Conclusion. In actual practice, the use of low-dose ASA has a small effect on the risk of developing dyspeptic symptoms in a group of patients with rheumatic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1765-1769
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2007



  • Arthritis
  • Aspirin
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Rheumatic disease
  • Ulcer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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