Although aspirin has been shown to protect patients from acute myocardial infarction (AMI), the effect of nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is not clear.
To determine whether NSAIDs have a similar effect or whether they differ in their effect on the risk of AMI.
We performed a case-control study of AMI in a large health care database containing information on all filled prescriptions, hospitalizations, diagnoses, and procedures for all patients covered by the New Jersey Medicaid or Medicare and Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Aged and Disabled programs. We identified 4425 patients hospitalized for AMI between January 1, 1991, and December 31, 1995, and 17 700 control subjects. Multivariate models were constructed to control for potential confounders.
A quarter of the cases and controls had filled a prescription for an NSAID in the 6 months before their AMI (cases) or a randomly assigned index date (controls); 9% had filled a prescription for an NSAID that overlapped with their date of AMI or index date. Overall, NSAID users had the same risk of AMI as nonusers, whether such use was measured on the index date (adjusted odds ratio, 1.04; 95% confidence interval, 0.92-1.18; P = .55) or at any time in the prior 6 months (adjusted odds ratio, 1.00; 95% confidence interval, 0.92-1.08; P = .92). However, use of naproxen was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of AMI (adjusted odds ratio, 0.84; 95% confidence interval, 0.72-0.98; P = .03).
Although NSAIDs have anti-inflammatory and antiplatelet effects similar to those of aspirin, we did not find that these drugs confer a protective effect against AMI. However, use of one specific NSAID, naproxen, appeared to be associated with a reduced rate of AMI, an effect recently suggested by a large randomized controlled trial as well.