Blood pressure destabilization and related healthcare utilization among hypertensive patients using nonspecific NSAIDs and COX-2-specific inhibitors

Sean Z. Zhao, Thomas A. Burke, Andrew Whelton, Heather Von Allmen, Scott C. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the incremental cost of blood pressure (BP) destabilization among patients with stable hypertension who newly initiate therapy with celecoxib, rofecoxib, or 3 commonly used nonspecific nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ibuprofen, diclofenac, or naproxen, based on incidence rates of BP destabilization and costs of BP destabilization events obtained from a single observational data source. Methods: Historical cohort observational analysis was performed based on real-life practice data that are contained in the LifeLink™ Integrated Claims Solutions employer claims databases. Patients with stable hypertension who had newly initiated therapy with rofecoxib, celecoxib, ibuprofen, diclofenac, or naproxen between January 1, 1999, and September 30, 2000, were identified from the database. The study consists of 3 components. First, the incidence rate of BP destabilization, based on patients' time of exposure to studied drugs, was estimated. Then, the cost of a BP destabilization event was determined by matching all BP destabilization cases with non-BP destabilization cases and following them for 90 days. The differences in the total costs between cases and controls were considered an estimate of the costs associated with managing the BP destabilization event. Last, the drug-specific incremental costs of BP destabilization of using each treatment were estimated in comparison with celecoxib. Incremental costs of BP destabilization were determined by multiplying the specific excess incidence rate of BP destabilization for each of the specific drugs, relative to celecoxib, by the cost of a BP destabilization event. Results: The adjusted incidence rate of outpatient BP destabilization for celecoxib was 2.27 per 1000 patient-days vs 2.66 for rofecoxib (P <.001) or 2.65 for nonspecific NSAIDs (P <.001). The incremental cost of BP destabilization per patient per day of drug utilization for the study drugs compared with celecoxib were $0.18 for rofecoxib and $0.17 for nonspecific NSAIDs. The higher costs of BP destabilization relative to celecoxib were due to the higher incidence of outpatient BP destabilization associated with the other study drugs. The average incremental healthcare cost for an outpatient BP destabilization event within the first 90 days of the event was $459. The incidence of inpatient BP destabilization among rofecoxib users was significantly higher than among celecoxib users (risk rate = 4.17; 95% CI, 1.86-9.26; P <.001). Incremental cost was not estimated for inpatient BP destabilization because the sample size was too small to provide a stable result. Conclusion: The costs of managing BP destabilization were significantly lower for celecoxib compared with rofecoxib and nonspecific NSAIDs. The observed differences among these anti-inflammatory drugs in the costs of BP destabilization will have a significant impact on the total cost of therapy in patients with stable hypertension. In addition to the monetary cost of BP destabilization, the physical cost to the patient regarding development or exacerbation of this serious medical condition should be considered when choosing cyclooxygenase-2-specific inhibitor and nonspecific NSAID therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number15 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • General Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • General Health Professions


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