Patients Ignorant of Risks of NSAIDs

 In cordant, Drug Testing, Health Plans

Many patients do not recognize common examples of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and do not understand the risks associated with them, according to the results of a 2015 online study. The study’s results were presented in a poster at PAINWeek 2016, a national conference for clinicians in pain management.

Of the study’s 1,056 participants, 77% had experienced some level of pain, including acute pain. About 67% of those participants had used over-the-counter (OTC) medications and 33% had used prescription medications to treat their pain.

The study asked participants about their familiarity with NSAIDs and the risks and recommendations about doses of NSAIDs and OTC pain medicines. Nearly 50% of participants who had taken pain medicine in the previous four months were unfamiliar with NSAIDs, and 50% of those familiar with NSAIDs were unable to identify ibuprofen and naproxen as forms of NSAIDs.

Participants were also queried about the risks and dosage recommendations for NSAIDs and OTC pain medications. Of particular concern, noted study co-author Daniel Solorio, was that 73% of participants seemed unaware of dose-related risks of NSAID use. “Over half of respondents who had used NSAIDs or acetaminophen were not familiar with low-dose options,” he said.

“This work highlights the need for health care practitioners to engage in conversation with their patients regarding the risks associated with the medications that they take, both prescription and over-the-counter, and potential treatment options that are available to mitigate those risks,” Dr. Solorio stated, pointing out that participants were often unaware that there are risks to combining NSAIDs. He also recommended physicians consider prescription NSAID treatment options that decrease the risks to patients.

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