Objective: To analyze results of treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) with acetaminophen and the nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAID) through a patient survey.
Methods: A 15 minute telephone survey was conducted with 300 patients, including 172 with confirmed OA.
Results: Twenty-four percent of patients who took acetaminophen rated it as "very helpful," compared to 31% for ibuprofen, 30% for naproxen, and 56% for diclofenac. Drug continuation beyond 24 months was reported by 33% of patients for acetaminophen, 21% for ibuprofen, 17% for naproxen, and 19% for diclofenac. Acetaminophen was significantly less likely to be discontinued because of toxicity than NSAID. Patients who indicated that they would not take a drug again, and therefore be unlikely to participate in a clinical trial involving this drug, were 26% for acetaminophen, 40% for ibuprofen, 38% for naproxen, and 28% for diclofenac. About 30% of patients who took acetaminophen reported concurrent use of ibuprofen, naproxen, or diclofenac. Among the 67% of patients who identified a drug as "most helpful," 80% named an NSAID, compared to 20% who named acetaminophen or another analgesic as the "most helpful" drug.
Conclusion: Patients take many different drugs for OA, most of which are not continued beyond 2 years. Many patients take both acetaminophen and an NSAID. Most patients who identified a drug as "most helpful" named an NSAID rather than acetaminophen or an analgesic drug. These findings may be of value in further development of management strategies and guidelines for OA.