Adverse effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in critically ill patients: A scoping review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often recommended as opioid-sparing agents. The objective of this scoping review was to conduct a thorough search of the current literature to determine whether in adult critically ill patients there is an association between exposure to NSAIDs vs no NSAIDs and the subsequent development of serious adverse events, particularly gastrointestinal bleeding and acute kidney injury (AKI). METHODS: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis extension for Scoping Reviews was utilized as a guideline for reporting. Searches were performed in PubMed (National Library of Medicine), Cochrane Library (Wiley), EMBASE (Elsevier), Stat!Ref (Teton), and Access Pharmacy (McGraw Hill) for articles published from January 2016 to August 2022. RESULTS: Of the 3,062 citations and titles identified in the search, 2,737 titles remained after removal of duplicates, 2,588 were excluded at title and abstract screening, and 149 articles remained for full-text review. None of the studies involved heterogeneous groups of critically ill patients in nonspecialty intensive care unit settings. Most studies evaluated were conducted in the perioperative setting and had limited adverse events reporting, particularly with respect to serious NSAID-related adverse effects of concern in critically ill patients. CONCLUSION: In published studies primarily involving perioperative patients, there is insufficient detail concerning the definitions and reporting of NSAID-related serious adverse events such as bleeding and AKI. These events are of particular concern in heterogeneous critically ill patient populations predisposed to such complications. In most (if not all) critically ill patients, sustained dosing of NSAIDs should be avoided regardless of COX-1 selectivity due to the paucity of safety data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-358
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 7 2023


  • adverse effects
  • critical care
  • critically ill
  • drug therapy
  • medication
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


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