Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Prescription patterns and appropriateness of NSAID therapy according to gastrointestinal risk and cardiovascular history in patients with diagnoses of osteoarthritis

Angel Lanas1*, Guillermo Garcia-Tell2, Beatriz Armada3 and Angel Oteo-Alvaro4

Author Affiliations

1 University of Zaragoza Medical School, Aragón Health Research Institute (IIS Aragón), CIBERehd, Zaragoza, Spain

2 CS Salvador Pau, Assistant Professor Department of Medicine.,University of Valencia, Spain

3 Pfizer S.L.U., Madrid, Spain

4 Service of Orthopedics, Hospital Gregorio Marañon, Madrid, Spain

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BMC Medicine 2011, 9:38  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-38

Published: 14 April 2011

Abstract

Background

Prescription of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be based on the assessment of both gastrointestinal (GI) and cardiovascular (CV) risk for the individual patient. We aimed to assess the GI/CV risk profile and the pharmacological management of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) in clinical practice.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional, multicentre, observational study of consecutive OA patients that visited 1,760 doctors throughout the Spanish National Health System (NHS) in a single day. The presence of GI risk factors, CV histories, hypertension and current pharmacological treatments was recorded.

Results

Of the 60,868 patients, 17,105 had a diagnosis of OA and were evaluable. The majority (93.4%) had more than one GI risk factor and 60.3% were defined to be at high-GI risk. Thirty-two percent had a history of CV events, 57.6% were treated with anti-hypertensive therapy and 22.6% had uncontrolled hypertension. One-fifth of patients were treated with non-NSAID therapies, whereas the remaining patients received NSAIDs. Non-selective NSAIDs (nsNSAID) plus proton pump inhibitor (PPI) or cyclooxigenase-2 (COX-2)-selective NSAIDs alone were more frequently prescribed in patients at increased GI risk. Patients with a positive CV history received nsNSAIDs or COX-2-selective NSAIDs in 41.3% and 31.7% of cases, respectively. When both the GI and CV histories were combined, 51% of the overall population was being prescribed drugs that were either not recommended or contraindicated.

Conclusions

Over 90% of patients with OA are at increased GI and/or CV risk. In over half of these patients, the prescription of NSAIDs was not in accordance with current guidelines or recommendations made by regulatory agencies.