Continuous NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) therapy is associated with gastrointestinal (GI) and cardiovascular (CV) side effects. In this paper, the oral NSAID use of 143 patients with rheumatoid arthritis was assessed focusing on safety and farmacoeconomic aspects in a cross sectional non interventional study. The most widely used NSAIDs were meloxicam (n = 55, 38.5%) and diclofenac (n = 30, 21%). We found that coxibs were overused (n = 13, 9.1%) compared with the average total coxib consumption in Hungary. According to our results, drugs associated with GI friend side effect profile (meloxicam, celecoxib, etoricoxib) were much preferred in patients with previous GI events, than in patients with low GI risk. The previous occurrence of GI events were significantly higher (p = 0.019) in patients currently treated with safer NSAIDs, probably because of the so-called 'indication bias'. No statistically significant difference in patient's quality of life could be proved between NSAID drug groups. The uses of NSAIDs were considered to be rational concerning CV and GI risk as well as cost-effectiveness.