Objectives: To determine the association between the long-term use of analgesics and progression of osteoarthritis (OA) as evidenced by up to 3-years follow-up worsening of radiographic Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) grade and incidence of knee replacement (KR).
Design: Using nearest neighbor matching of the propensity scores with caliper in the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) cohort, 173 index (Analgesic +) and 173 referent (Analgesic -) subjects were included. Analgesic + and - subjects had analgesics in all and none of their visits, respectively. Analgesic + and - subjects were balanced in their demographics, baseline, first, second and third year body mass index (BMI), Western Ontario and McMaster (WOMAC) total score, Physical and Mental health summary scales (SF-12), Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) and Charleston Comorbidity Scale. Analgesic + and - subjects were also matched for baseline radiographic KL grade. Interval increase in the KL grade and incidence of KR were defined as the outcome.
Results: Included subjects had average 6.5 years of follow-up. By the third year, 44 subjects had an interval increase in the KL grade; 29 in Analgesic + and 15 among Analgesic - subjects (P = 0.024). By the eighth-year, 41 subjects had their first KR; 29 in Analgesic + and 12 among Analgesic - subjects (P = 0.005). Hazard Ratio (HR) of OA progression and KR for Analgesic + subjects was 1.91 (1.02-3.57) and 2.57 (1.31-5.04), respectively.
Conclusions: Long-term use of analgesics may be associated with radiographic progression of knee OA and increased risk of future KR.
Keywords: Analgesics; Knee replacement; Osteoarthritis progression; Propensity score matching.
Copyright © 2015 Osteoarthritis Research Society International. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.