Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug use is Associated with Incident Hypertension in Ankylosing Spondylitis


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increase blood pressure and potentially cardiovascular burden, which may limit their use in ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Our objective was to determine the association of NSAID use with incident hypertension in a longitudinal AS cohort.


Adults with AS were enrolled in a prospective cohort study of patient outcomes and examined every 4-6 months. Hypertension was defined by patient-reported hypertension; anti-hypertensive medication use; or, on two consecutive visits, systolic blood pressure ≥140 mm Hg or diastolic ≥90 mm Hg. Continuous NSAID use was dichotomized based on the validated NSAID index. We assessed the association of NSAID use as a time-varying exposure with the incidence of hypertension using Cox proportional hazards models.


Of the 1282 patients in the cohort, 628 patients without baseline hypertension had at least one year of follow up, and were included in the analysis. Of these, 72% were male, the mean age at baseline was 39 ± 13 years, and 200 used NSAIDs continuously. On follow-up, 129 developed incident hypertension. After controlling for other variables, continuous NSAID use was associated with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.12 for incident hypertension (95% CI, 1.04-1.20), compared to non-continuous or no use. The association did not differ in subgroups defined by age, body mass index, biologic use, or disease activity.


In our prospective, longitudinal AS cohort, continuous NSAID use was associated with a 12% increased risk for the development of incident hypertension, as compared to non-continuous or no NSAID use.

 2019 Sep 17. doi: 10.1002/acr.24070. [Epub ahead of print]