OBJECTIVE - To determine the frequency of use of recommended gastroprotective strategies in a cohort of patients receiving recurrent treatment with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
METHODS - A cross-sectional study was performed using administrative data from the Tennessee Medicaid (TennCare) program. The study population consisted of 76,765 recurrent recipients of NSAIDs (NSAID users), comprising 24% of the 319,402 persons ages 50 years or older enrolled in the TennCare program from January 1999 through June 2000. Frequency of use of either of 2 recommended gastroprotective strategies, involving either traditional NSAIDs combined with recommended anti-ulcer cotherapy or use of a selective cyclooxygenase 2-inhibiting drug (coxib), was measured and categorized by risk for ulcer complication.
RESULTS - Among this cohort of recurrent NSAID users, 16% received 1 of the 2 recommended gastroprotective therapies: 10% received traditional NSAIDs along with antiulcer drugs at the recommended doses and 6% received coxibs. Among those patients with > or=2 risk factors for ulcer complications (age 75 years or older, peptic ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding in the past year, or concurrent use of oral anticoagulants or corticosteroids), 30% received such gastroprotective therapy.
CONCLUSION - Use of recommended strategies to decrease ulcer complications in vulnerable populations is relatively uncommon.