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Gut. 1999 September; 45(3): 362–366.
PMCID: PMC1727647

High prevalence of NSAID enteropathy as shown by a simple faecal test

Abstract

BACKGROUND—The diagnosis of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) induced enteropathy is difficult, requiring enteroscopy or the use of four day faecal excretion of 111In labelled white cells.
AIMS—To assess faecal calprotectin (a non-degraded neutrophil cytosolic protein) as a method for diagnosing NSAID enteropathy.
METHODS—Single stool faecal calprotectin concentrations were compared with the four day faecal excretion of 111In labelled white cells in 47 patients taking NSAIDs. The prevalence and severity of NSAID enteropathy was assessed using this method in 312 patients (192 with rheumatoid arthritis, 65 with osteoarthritis, 55 with other conditions) taking 18 different NSAIDs.
RESULTS—The four day faecal excretion of 111In white cells correlated significantly with faecal calprotectin concentrations. In the group of 312 patients on NSAIDs faecal calprotectin concentrations were significantly higher than in controls, the prevalence of NSAID enteropathy being 44%. The prevalence and severity of NSAID enteropathy was independent of the particular type or dose of NSAID being taken or other patient variables.
CONCLUSIONS—Assay of faecal calprotectin provides a simple practical method for diagnosing NSAID enteropathy in man. Forty four per cent of patients receiving these drugs had NSAID induced enteropathy when assessed by this technique; 20% of these had comparable levels of inflammation to that previously reported in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.


Keywords: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug; calprotectin; enteropathy

Figure 1
Box and whisker diagram showing median faecal calprotectin concentration (horizontal line), 5th and 95th centiles (box), and range (whiskers) in controls (n=48) and patients taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (n=312).

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