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Dual NSAID Use Linked to Decreased Quality of Life

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory dual use also carries increased risk of adverse events

THURSDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) -- More than one-quarter of surveyed members of a managed care organization reported dual use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), potentially putting them at risk of adverse events, according to a report published in the Feb. 15 issue of Arthritis Care & Research. The researchers also found dual use linked to reduced quality of life.

Stacey H. Kovac, Ph.D., of Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues surveyed patients who'd filled at least one NSAID prescription in 2002; participants' pharmacy and medical records were available. Participants were surveyed over the phone about current and past prescription and over-the-counter NSAID use, and also were given the Short Form Health Survey, which evaluates health-related quality of life.

Twenty-six percent of participants were dual NSAID users, and about 80 percent of dual users used a prescription and over-the-counter NSAID. Dual use was associated with a lower score on the physical component of the health survey, which may have been due to patients seeking relief from insufficient clinical pain management.

"Dual users may take multiple NSAIDs to reduce their pain, and may knowingly or unknowingly do this despite NSAID safety risks," the authors write. "If inadequate pain management is a contributing factor, then identifying more appropriate pain management strategies that are less likely to cause adverse events is needed. Adequate pain management may have the potential to reduce dual use, improve patient symptoms, including physical functioning, and reduce patient safety problems," they conclude.

A study co-author has received funds from Novartis and Merck.

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