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Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective drug co-prescription in general practice

A general practitioner-based survey in France

  • Pharmacoepidemiology and Prescription
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European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Background and aim: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) represent one of the most frequently prescribed drugs. Gastrointestinal damage, the most common side effect of NSAIDs, can be limited by the prescription of cytoprotective agents. In order to assess determinants of NSAID-associated cytoprotective agent prescriptions in primary care practice, we performed a general practitioner (GP)-based study. Methods: After a 2-month intensive information campaign, the participation of all GPs of the Côte d'Or (France) administrative area was requested. During a 2-month period, GPs had to return a mailed questionnaire on NSAID prescription for up to ten consecutive patients aged over 18 years who required NSAIDs. This 30-item questionnaire included questions about the patient, the type of NSAID and the GP. Results: GP participation rate was 24%, and 791 prescriptions were provided. GPs who participated in the study were representative of GPs of the area in terms of sex, time elapsed since graduation and GP practice area. Around 80% of the patients included in the study were under the age of 65 years. The proportion of prescriptions combining NSAIDs and gastroprotective agents was 29.5%. Omeprazole accounted for 58% of the co-prescriptions and misoprostol for 29%. Independent determinants associated with the co-prescription of a cytoprotective agent were age [odds ratio (OR) 4.1; confidence interval (CI) 95% 2.3–7.4], previous history of poor NSAID tolerance (OR 10.4; CI 95% 5.8–18.6), previous history of moderate to severe digestive disorders (OR 13.4; CI 95% 5.1–35.4) and indication for chronic illness (OR 1.8, CI 95% 1.1–3.1). Prescriptions of cytoprotective drugs were in conformity with official guidelines for 78.3% of the patients. Although around 60% of the patients with risk factors for poor tolerance received a gastroprotective drug, 50% of the patients over 65 years did not receive it. Conversely, nearly 12% of the patients with no risk factors were prescribed cytoprotective agents. Patient history was the main reason put forward by GPs for prescribing cytoprotective drugs. Conclusion: Although a large majority of GP prescriptions were in accordance with official recommendations, inadequate NSAID prescription practices remain relatively frequent especially with regard to the elderly.

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Accepted in revised form: 30 August 2001

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Clinard, F., Bardou, M., Sgro, C. et al. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective drug co-prescription in general practice. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 57, 737–743 (2001).

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