Arthritis Drug Works Double Duty

Published Online: Saturday, March 1, 2003

Recent studies have shown that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), most commonly used for arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, may be beneficial in treating patients with heart disease by improving blood vessel flexibility and reducing inflammation of the vessel wall. Researchers at University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland, studied 14 male patients with severe heart disease. In addition to aspirin and statin drugs, these patients received either 200 mg of the NSAID celecoxib or placebo for 2 weeks, after which time the groups switched treatments. The NSAID improved endothelium-dependent vasodilation by 3.3%, whereas the placebo offered a 2% improvement.

The investigators also measured a form of "bad" cholesterol known as oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL), which promotes the clogging of arteries. Patients taking the NSAID had ox-LDL levels of 43.6 U/L, whereas patients taking the placebo had ox-LDL levels of 47.6 U/L.

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