Aims The new cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) selective inhibitors, celecoxib (Celebrex®) and rofecoxib (Vioxx®), have been widely prescribed since their launch. No reviews currently appear in the literature of prescribing patterns in Australia. This paper describes a self-audit of the clinical use of selective COX-2 inhibitor therapy undertaken with rural general practitioners (GPs) in Australia.
Methods A structured audit form was developed and distributed to interested GPs. The form was self-administered and focused on issues about COX-2 inhibitors and the types of patients who were receiving them, e.g. indications, patient demographics, risk factors and drug interactions.
Results A total of 627 patients were recruited (569 celecoxib and 58 rofecoxib). A range of doses was prescribed. Osteoarthritis was the most common indication (68.1%). Risk factors known for the nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were identified in 65.1% of patients, with the most common being advanced age, hypertension and previous peptic ulcer disease. Potential drug interactions were common. A variety of reasons for initiation of therapy was identified; these included perceived increased efficacy, safety and failure of other treatment.
Conclusions These results show that COX-2 inhibitors are being prescribed for patients with multiple risk factors that may place the patient at increased risk of adverse drug reactions to a COX-2 inhibitor. The perception of improved safety and efficacy was common and is of concern. Limitations of the study include the reliance on self-reporting.