Physician-reported management of edema and destabilized blood pressure in cyclooxygenase-2-specific inhibitor users with osteoarthritis and treated hypertension

Jane T. Osterhaus, Thomas A. Burke, Corey May, Chuck Wentworth, Andrew Whelton, Susan Bristol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: The addition of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to the regimen of a patient with treated hypertension can cause a destabilization of blood pressure. Objective: The aim of this study was to describe physician-reported management of clinically significant edema and/or destabilized blood pressure in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and hypertension when initiating therapy with rofecoxib or celecoxib. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was administered to physicians who attended one of several arthritis consultant programs sponsored by Pharmacia Corporation, with attendees selected by local sales representatives. Each program included a clinical presentation by a physician concerning the cardiorenal safety of celecoxib, followed by a consultative presentation and session led by a Pharmacia Clinical Education Manager. Results: A total of 828 physicians in the following specialties completed the survey: family practice (33.0%), internal medicine (25.0%), orthopedics (15.2%), and rheumatology (11.4%). Responding physicians expected that the majority of patients who experienced edema would contact them (68.4%). They reported that they schedule follow-up visits for blood pressure monitoring 65.6% of the time after initiating a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)-specific inhibitor, with family practitioners and internists most likely to indicate that they would do so and orthopedists least likely. Responding physicians indicated that the presence of edema and destabilized blood pressure generally led to discontinuation of the COX-2-specific inhibitor (58%-82% of the time). Internists and family practitioners were most likely to report that they treat edema by initiating or modifying diuretic therapy (33%-51% of the time). For destabilized blood pressure, an antihypertensive drug was reported to be initiated or modified 40% to 55% of the time by family practitioners and internists, whereas orthopedists indicated that they referred patients to the primary care provider. The COX-2-specific inhibitor prescribed resulted in management differences: physicians indicated that they were more likely to switch from rofecoxib to celecoxib in the event of edema or destabilized blood pressure, whereas they were more likely to adjust the celecoxib dose than the rofecoxib dose. Because the data were captured from convenience samples of physicians attending sponsored meetings, it is possible that respondents provided the answers they thought the sponsor would want. Because this was a cross-sectional survey, reported behavior was not compared with actual behavior. Conclusions: A significant percentage of physicians reported that they monitor patients with OA and hypertension for the occurrence of destabilized blood pressure and edema after initiation of a COX-2-specific inhibitor. Physicians indicated that they would nearly always intervene when either event is identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-989
Number of pages21
JournalClinical Therapeutics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Celecoxib
  • COX-2-specific inhibitors
  • Hypertension management
  • Rofecoxib
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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