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This article is the author's final published version in Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Global research & reviews, Volume 6, Issue 4, April 2022.

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Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CCBY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


INTRODUCTION: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used as part of multimodal analgesia in total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Selective cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitors (e.g., celecoxib) are believed to have fewer gastrointestinal (GI) adverse effects than nonselective NSAIDS. Meloxicam is less selective for COX-2 than celecoxib is and partially inhibits COX-1 at higher doses. Nonetheless, some surgeons prefer using nonselective NSAIDs because of their lower expense.

METHODS: Four thousand nine hundred ninety-four patients who underwent TKA between January 2015 and February 2020 and took either celecoxib (n = 3,174), meloxicam 15 mg/d (n = 1,819), or meloxicam 7.5 mg/d (n = 451) were studied. Mutlimodal postoperative analgesia protocols were otherwise similar. GI bleeding and wound complication incidence were determined, as well as average 30-day prescription costs.

RESULTS: GI bleeding incidence was similar in the three cohorts (P = 0.4). The incidence of wound complications did not significantly differ between the groups: 0.06%, 0.07%, and 0.22% in the celecoxib, meloxicam 15 mg/d, and meloxicam 7.5 mg/d groups, respectively (P = 0.06). Subsituting meloxicam for celecoxib results in an average savings of $183 per prescription.

DISCUSSION: Meloxicam used at higher doses (15 mg/d) does not markedly increase the risk of GI or wound complications associated with COX-1 inhibition and is less costly for multimodal analgesia after TKA.

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