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Patient perspectives of OA


Clinical bottom line

In patients with OA in the UK, despite treatment there is considerable restriction on activities of daily living.


B Crichton, M Green. GP and patient perspectives on treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of pain in osteoarthritis. Current medical research & Opinion 2002 18: 92-96.


The patient part of this survey was a postal questionnaire in April 2001 to 30,000 arthritis patients on a patient support group database. Replies came from 6,841 patients, but analysis was restricted to 3,127 whose diagnosis of osteoarthritis had been confirmed by a GP.


The report contains results on 18 quality of life indicators, but the main impacts (often, sometimes or always) where their condition prevented them carrying out the activity are shown in Figure 1. Sleep, walking, stairs, bathing and dressing were all activities with high levels of negative impact, with occasional impairment in all of these in over 60% of patients, and always or often in about 40% of patients.

Figure 1: OA impairment with activity

A quarter of the patients used OTC medicines in addition to those prescribed by their doctor, the most popular being paracetamol (49%) and ibuprofen (23%). A quarter of the patients reported some level of dissatisfaction with their treatment, and the same proportion thought their pain control poor.


This is, by its nature, a self-selected group of patients. But it was large and is one of the few studies to report on what patients think of their treatment. Half were over 65 years, two-thirds women, and most were retired. Their demographics are not unlike most patients with OA.