The Lack of Awareness of the Israeli Population Regarding Gastrointestinal Complications from Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Gisels Zandman-Goddard, Pnina Langevitz
Medicine Dept. B and F. The SlE Clinic and The Rheumatology Unit, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are potent analgesic agents. They are indicated for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, severe acute and prolonged chronic pain. A wide range of analgesic agents are available. The objective of this study was to assess the patient's knowledge of his illness, his knowledge familiarity with NSAID medications and their side effects and thereupon, to evaluate the awareness, utilization, satisfaction and expectations associated with current available treatment.
During the year 2000, a randomized telephone screening questionnaire, was completed over a 2 month period for a sample group of the general Israeli population over 50 years of age.
Of the 3179 persons contacted, 2028 responded and 292 persons were treated with NSAIDs and further investigated. Fifty percent suffered from chronic musculoskeletal pain, 22% had osteoarthritis, 10% had rheumatoid arthritis, and 18% had undefined chronic pain. The average age of the respondent was 65 years old. The average duration of treatment was 11 years. The most common drugs used by the 292 respondents that were taking NSAIDs were diclofenac (Voltaren) - 51% and naproxen (Naxyn) - 21%. Only 4% were treated with COX-2 specific inhibitors. Twenty percent of the respondents utilized more than one NSAID simultaneously. Forty seven percent of the patients had peptic ulcer disease but only 39% of them were simultaneously treated with an NSAID and a gastroprotective agent. Sixty eight percent of patients expected amelioration of symptoms while taking NSAIDs. Seventy seven percent of respondents were dissatisfied with treatment. The patients expressed that they did not have a reliable easily accessible source of information on their disorder or on available treatment options.
Many respondents were not aware of their medical diagnosis. In general, patients were not aware of all the available NSAIDs or the side effects of gastrointestinal complications. Enhancement of information available to the patient is warranted to improve the provision of efficient therapy, reduce side effects and increase patient satisfaction from therapy.