Background: Selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors have been linked to cardiac death. The mechanism for this adverse effect appears to be by ischemic insult; however another mechanism could involve hyperkalemia. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of selective COX-2 inhibitors and non-selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on serum potassium concentration and the electrocardiogram. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using propensity score matching of patients from an inner-city academic medical center at Indianapolis, Indiana. Two hundred and two patients prescribed selective COX-2 inhibitors were matched to 202 patients prescribed non-selective NSAIDs using propensity scores methods. Outcomes included change in serum potassium concentration from baseline and the risk of an abnormal electrocardiogram. Results: Compared to patients prescribed non-selective NSAIDs, those prescribed a selective COX-2 inhibitor had a higher risk of serum potassium increase greater than 5 mEq/L (OR, 2.56; 95%CI, 1.03-6.36). However, patients prescribed selective COX-2 inhibitors had no greater risk of electrocardiogram abnormality (OR, 1.16; 95%CI, 0.74-1.82). Conclusions: Selective COX-2 inhibitors may have a greater risk of hyperkalemia than non-selective NSAIDs. This study was exploratory with small numbers of patients. Further studies are needed to confirm these results and any association with cardiovascular events.
- Retrospective cohort study, propensity score
- Selective COX-2 inhibitors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)