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Drug utilization review of celecoxib in Ontario.

Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2-specific inhibitors were developed to circumvent the gastrointestinal toxicity of non-specific non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs while maintaining efficacy. However, the higher acquisition cost of COX-2-specific inhibitors has resulted in the implementation of a programme for cost containment in the Ontario public drug program. This programme consists of limited use (LU) criteria that need to be met for drug reimbursement of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) or rheumatoid arthritis ( RA). Determining the proportion of patients eligible for reimbursement for celecoxib according to the LU criteria (based on prior treatment failure and the presence or history of serious ulcer-related gastrointestinal complications) can provide an indication of the extent of adherence to suggested guidelines. Using a patient-based survey and an analysis of the Ontario Drug Benefit Program database, the proportion of patients prescribed celecoxib who met rigorous or pragmatic definitions of the LU criteria was determined. The extent of coprescription of gastroprotective agents among patients taking celecoxib was also determined. Using the pragmatic definition, the majority of patients in the patient-based survey (53% for OA and 81% for RA) met the LU criteria. Similarly, in the database analysis, the majority of patients (76% for OA and 78% for RA) met the LU criteria. These data suggest that physician prescribing of celecoxib is consistent with the LU criteria. Concomitant prescription of gastroprotective agents in patients taking celecoxib was approximately 40%. It is recommended that further investigations be performed to determine the long-term impact of LU criteria on clinical and economic outcomes, since these criteria may also serve to restrict use in patients who may benefit from taking COX-2-specific inhibitors.[1]


  1. Drug utilization review of celecoxib in Ontario. LeLorier, J., Fitzsimon, C., Keresteci, M., Stewart, D., Lavoie, F. Rheumatology (Oxford, England) (2003) [Pubmed]
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