Taking more than one Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) might result in a decline in the patient's health related quality of life, says a new study.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are drugs with analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory effects - they reduce pain, fever and inflammation.
NSAIDs are available in both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) forms and are one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the world. Because of their widespread availability, patients may take both forms at the same time, either because of inadequate pain relief or because they are unaware that they are taking two drugs in the same therapeutic class.
The study, led by Stacey H. Kovac of Durham VA Medical Centre and Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, found that taking two NSAIDs was associated with lower scores on a health-related quality of life assessment.
The study involved 138 patients from a large regional managed care organization who had filled at least one NSAID prescription between February and August 2002.
Records of the prescriptions were captured from the pharmacy database and medical records. Participants also answered the 12-Item Short Form Health Survey, which evaluates health status and calculates a Physical Component Summary (PCS-12) and a Mental Component Summary.
The results showed that 26 percent of participants were dual users, meaning that they reported taking at least two NSAIDs (prescription, OTC, or both) during the previous month. Dual use was found to be associated with worse scores on the PCS-12 component of the health survey.
Physicians are advised to keep a complete list of a patient's medications and the authors note that doing so would help identify patients who are taking more than one NSAID.
"The increased awareness may lead to better communication between the patient and provider about the appropriate use of NSAIDs," the researchers said.
The study is published in Arthritis Care & Research.