The objective of this article was to study the association of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with bone mineral density (BMD).
Spine BMD was evaluated in a subset of 2028 participants from the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis cohort who were NSAID users (including aspirin) and underwent both lumbar and thoracic imaging. Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis is a prospective cohort study that includes 4 ethnic groups (white, Asian, African American, and Hispanic). Trabecular BMD was evaluated by quantitative computed tomography based on cardiac computed tomography images, which were obtained during coronary calcium scans. The analyses were cross sectional using baseline examination data for exposure and outcomes.
After adjustment for potential confounders including age, sex, race, and traditional cardiovascular risk factors, a small association between trabecular BMD and baseline use of COX-2–selective NSAID was observed. COX-2–selective NSAID use was associated with 7.4 mg/cm3 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6–13.3; P = 0. 013) higher trabecular BMD in thoracic spine and 10.6 mg/cm3 higher at lumbar spine (95% CI, 5.1–16.1; P < 0.001). Among regular aspirin users, there was no association between drug use and trabecular BMD. Considering all spine fractures together, the prevalence ratio of fractures among aspirin users was 1.0 (95% CI, 0.6–1.6) and 1.1 (95% CI, 0.5–2.3) among COX-2–selective NSAID users.
Regular use of aspirin has no significant association with trabecular BMD in either the thoracic or lumbar spine and no association with fracture prevalence. COX-2–selective NSAIDs may have modest positive association with BMD, but the mechanisms were not assessed and the observational study design makes residual confounding a possible alternate explanation. Potential pathological mechanisms warrant further longitudinal exploration.