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More than 50% of newly diagnosed OA patients have blood hypertension and almost 20% haveType 2 Diabetes.

31 Oct 2013

The percentage of patients is even higher among those taking anti-inflammatory or COX-2 inhibitors to treat their osteoarthritis. Physicians still fail to take into account co-morbidity and risk factors associated withosteoarthritis. They are not aware of the risks associated withthe prescription of certain drugs. These are the main conclusions of a new study of population-based cohorts jointly carried out by the JordiGol Institute in Primary Care Research and OxfordUniversity that was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Rheumatology.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is an inflammatory joint disease that is associated withother conditions, such as blood hypertension, obesity anddiabetes.


A new study of population-based cohortsjointly carried out by the JordiGol Institute in Primary Care Research and Oxford University was presented at the annual congress of the American Academy of Rheumatology (ACR) in San Diego, California. This study concluded that more than 50% of patients diagnosed with OAhad arterial hypertension, and that almost 20% of them had diabetes when they were diagnosed with OA.


“In our study we came to the conclusion that the perception of the cardiovascular risks associated withanti-inflammatory and COX-2 inhibitors usage is low. For instance, the use of COX-2 inhibitors grew rapidly after its launching, although its use stopped in 2008 after the publication of warnings about its cardiovascular risks. However, according to our data, the usage continued growing in 2009 and 2010”, commented the lead author of the study, Dr. Daniel Prieto-Alhambra, from Oxford University.


Another finding of this work is that 75% of patients take two or more drugs during the first year after being diagnosed with OA. To be more precise, 25.5% of them take two drugs and 54% of them three or more. “These figures suggest that, very often, OA patients take multiple medications. Furthermore, most of them do not strictly follow the prescribed treatment. All of this makes it difficult to extrapolate the efficacy and safety of these drugs in clinical tests to a situation of real clinical practice”, added Dr. Prieto-Alhambra.


Aims, methodology

The study tried to evaluate the usage of several different drugs currently being used in OA treatment: which ones are the most used, how are they combined, and how likely are patients to follow the prescribed treatment, as well as co-morbidities associated witheach group of drugs.


To do so, the researchers used the SIDIAP database (Information System for the Development of Research in Primary Care). This database contains clinic histories from more than 3,400 primary care physicians in Catalonia and provides significant information about 80% of the Catalan population, i. e., some five million people.


The study included all newly diagnosedOApatients during 2006-2010 that wereolder than 40. The scientists analyzed the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs, COX-2 inhibitors, analgesics, SYSADOAs and opioids.


Overall, they identified 238,536 new OA cases. The average age of these new patients was 67, with more than 80% of them being overweight or obese. 17.4% had OA in three or more joints, with knees (40.3%) hands (15.8%), spine (14%) and hip (12.7%) being the most commonly affected.


This new study was presented during the symposium “Prognosis and Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis” hosted by BiobericaFarma within the educational programof the Annual meeting of the American Academy of Rheumatology.