OBJECTIVES:Because of the limitations of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies, a prospective, randomized, open-label, blinded endpoint (PROBE) study may be an appropriate alternative, as the design allows the assessment of clinical outcomes in clinical practice settings. The Gastrointestinal (GI) Randomized Event and Safety Open-Label Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) Study (GI-REASONS) was designed to reflect standard clinical practice while including endpoints rigorously evaluated by a blinded adjudication committee. The objective of this study was to assess if celecoxib is associated with a lower incidence of clinically significant upper and/or lower GI events than nonselective NSAIDs (nsNSAIDs) in standard clinical practice.METHODS:This was a PROBE study carried out at 783 centers in the United States, where a total of 8,067 individuals aged ≥55 years, requiring daily NSAIDs to treat osteoarthritis, participated. The participants were randomized to celecoxib or nsNSAIDs (1:1) for 6 months and stratified by Helicobacter pylori status. Treatment doses could be adjusted as per the United States prescribing information; patients randomized to nsNSAIDs could switch between nsNSAIDs; crossover between treatment arms was not allowed, and patients requiring aspirin at baseline were excluded. The primary outcome was the incidence of clinically significant upper and/or lower GI events.RESULTS: Significantly more nsNSAID users met the primary endpoint (2.4% (98/4,032) nsNSAID patients and 1.3% (54/4,035) celecoxib patients; odds ratio, 1.82 (95% confidence interval, 1.31-2.55); P=0.0003). Moderate to severe abdominal symptoms were experienced by 94 (2.3%) celecoxib and 138 (3.4%) nsNSAID patients (P=0.0035). Other non-GI adverse events were similar between treatment groups. One limitation is the open-label design, which presents the possibility of interpretive bias.CONCLUSIONS:Celecoxib was associated with a lower risk of clinically significant upper and/or lower GI events than nsNSAIDs. Furthermore, this trial represents a successful execution of a PROBE study, where therapeutic options and management strategies available in clinical practice were incorporated into the rigor of a prospective RCT.
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