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A newer type of NSAID available is known as the COX-2 inhibitor. COX-2 inhibitors provide the anti-inflammatory effects of blocking the COX-2 enzyme, but do not affect the COX-1 enzyme, reducing the risk of stomach or intestinal damage. COX-2 inhibitors are ideal for patients who are considered to be at an elevated risk for developing stomach or intestinal problems; however, COX-2 inhibitors can increase the risk for damage to the heart, and thus, are not ideal for patients with problems with circulation or other types of heart conditions.
Cross national drug utilization studies can provide information about different influences on physician prescribing. This is important for medicines with issues around safety and quality of use, like non selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ns-NSAIDs) and cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors. To enable comparison of prescription medicine use across different jurisdictions with a range of population sizes, data first need to be compared within Australia to understand whether use in a smaller sub-population may be considered as representative of the total use within Australia. The aim of this study was to compare the utilization of non selective NSAID, COX-2 inhibitors and paracetamol between Queensland and Australia.