Objective: Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increase blood pressure and potentially cardiovascular burden, which may limit their use in ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Our objective was to determine the association of NSAID use with incident hypertension in a longitudinal AS cohort. Methods: Adults with AS were enrolled in a prospective cohort study of patient outcomes and examined every 4–6 months. Hypertension was defined by patient-reported hypertension; antihypertensive medication use; or, on 2 consecutive visits, systolic blood pressure ≥140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mm Hg. Continuous NSAID use was dichotomized based on the validated NSAID index. We assessed the association of NSAID use as a time-varying exposure with the incidence of hypertension using Cox proportional hazards models. Results: Of the 1,282 patients in the cohort, 628 patients without baseline hypertension had at least 1 year of follow-up and were included in the analysis. Of these, 72% were male, the mean age at baseline was 39 ± 13 years, and 200 patients used NSAIDs continuously. On follow-up, 129 developed incident hypertension. After controlling for other variables, continuous NSAID use was associated with a hazard ratio of 1.12 for incident hypertension (95% confidence interval 1.04–1.20), compared to noncontinuous or no use. The association did not differ in subgroups defined by age, body mass index, biologic use, or disease activity. Conclusion: In our prospective, longitudinal AS cohort, continuous NSAID use was associated with a 12% increased risk for the development of incident hypertension, as compared to noncontinuous or no NSAID use.
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