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A joint study from UCLA and the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System found that the combination of a common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and an acid-lowering drug is both cost-effective and treatment-effective. The study team compared 3 therapies for treating arthritis: (1) an NSAID, such as ibuprofen or naproxen; (2) an NSAID with an acid-reducer (proton pump inhibitor; PPI), such as lansoprazole (Prevacid) or esomeprazole magnesium (Nexium); and (3) a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor, such as rofecoxib (Vioxx) or celecoxib (Celebrex).
The results showed that, for high-risk patients, an OTC NSAID used with a PPI was the safest and most cost-effective treatment. Study author Dr. Brennan Spiegel, codirector of the Center for the Study of Digestive Healthcare Quality and Outcomes, remarked, "COX-2 inhibitors were not a health economic bargain at all-especially given the added costs of more heart attacks."