Recommendations published in the October 2006 issue of Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology & Hepatology should help physicians to identify quickly whether or not a patient is suitable for treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Francis Chan recommends NSAID use for patients based on their level of risk of encountering gastrointestinal or cardiovascular problems.
NSAIDs include aspirin and ibuprofen; they can reduce pain, fever and inflammation. They can be prescribed to patients with acute pain conditions such as bone cancer, or inflammation, for example arthritis. NSAID use is associated with a number of serious upper and lower gastrointestinal complications, including bleeding, perforation, and obstruction. In addition, certain NSAIDs can cause heart attacks.
Recognizing that many NSAID-related complications are predictable and preventable, Chan has reviewed the literature and produced some simple, practical recommendations to help physicians evaluate both the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular risks of individual patients in the clinic. With this information, the physician can identify who should and who should not receive NSAIDs. The recommendations also offer guidance on what kind of gastroprotective agents should be given alongside NSAIDs in patients deemed suitable for treatment.
Although research into the safety of NSAIDs continues, these recommendations provide a quick, clinically applicable means for physicians to harness the clinical benefits of NSAIDs in suitable patients, while helping them to avoid potentially fatal complications in patients for whom the risk of adverse effects is judged unacceptably high.
Francis KL Chan (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Natalie Wilson (Senior Editor, Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology & Hepatology)
(C) Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology & Hepatology press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza