Subjective impact of osteoarthritis flare-ups on patients' quality of life

Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2005 Mar 16;3:14. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-3-14.


Background: Clinical trials on osteoarthritis (OA) flare-ups treatment usually focus only on objective measures of health status, albeit recent literature suggestions on the importance of patients' subjectivity. Aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of OA and of its different types of medical treatment(s) on Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) in terms of both subjective satisfaction and functional status.

Methods: An observational study on prospective data collected from the Evaluation of Quality of life in OA (EQuO) clinical trial (April 1999-November 2000) was conducted; outpatients from 70 participating centers (Orthopedy or Rheumatology Departments in Italy) with a diagnosis of OA of the hip or knee were consecutively enrolled. Patients were observed at OA flare-ups (baseline) and at follow up 4 weeks after treatment. Patients' objective and subjective HRQoL were assessed by means of the SF-36 and the Satisfaction Profile (SAT-P, which focuses on subjective satisfaction); Present Pain at baseline and Pain Relief at follow up were also evaluated.

Results: Among the 1323 patients, 1138 (86%) were prescribed one drug/treatment of osteoarthritis, 169 (13%) 2 drugs/treatments, and 16 (1%) 3 drugs/treatments; most of treatments involved the prescription of NSAIDs; non-coxib, COX2 selective NSAIDs were prescribed in about 50% of patients. Follow-up visits were performed after 29.0 days on average (+/- 7.69 SD). For all SF-36 domains, all SAT-P items and factors, the differences between baseline and follow up scores resulted statistically significant (p < 0.001), enlighting an improvement both in health status and in subjective HRQoL.

Conclusion: Besides the classic health status measures, the assessment of patients' subjective satisfaction provides important clues on treatments efficacy of OA within the patient-centered medicine model. In clinical practice this could lead to a better doctor-patient communication and to higher levels of treatment adherence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / classification
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Lactones / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / psychology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / psychology
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Sickness Impact Profile*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Lactones