Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to treat arthritis, which affects one-third of all adults. These drugs are available in both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) forms and are one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the world. Because of their widespread availability, patients may take both forms at the same time, either because of inadequate pain relief or because they are unaware that they are taking two drugs in the same therapeutic class. At the same time, health care providers may also be unaware that patients are taking more than one NSAID.
While it is well recognized that taking multiple NSAIDs can lead to gastrointestinal problems, it is not known whether there is a relationship between patients taking more than one NSAID and their health-related quality of life. A new study published in the February issue of Arthritis Care & Research (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritiscare) found that taking two NSAIDs was associated with lower scores on a health-related quality of life assessment.
Led by Stacey H. Kovac of Durham VA Medical Center and Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, the study involved 138 patients from a large regional managed care organization who had filled at least one NSAID prescription between February and August 2002. Records of the prescriptions were captured from the pharmacy database and medical records. Participants also answered the 12-Item Short Form Health Survey, which evaluates health status and calculates a Physical Component Summary (PCS-12) and a Mental Component Summary.
The results showed that 26 percent of participants were dual users, meaning that they reported taking at least two NSAIDs (prescription, OTC, or both) during the previous month. Dual use was found to be associated with worse scores on the PCS-12 component of the health survey. The authors point out that litt
|Contact: Amy Molnar|