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Osteoarthritis patients have almost double the probability of suffering other diseases

15 Oct 2015
  • The most frequent are arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux or osteoporosis
  • Fourteen percent of patients do not receive any treatment for osteoarthritis and 50% receive only paracetamol, a drug that has not been proved to be efficient against this disease
  • Furthermore, osteoarthritis patients have an statistically significant higher consumption of anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs
  • These are the main conclusions of the EMARTRO study, a picture of the current situation of osteoarthritis in Spain, in which have participated 1,371 patients and 61 primary care physicians from 13 different Spanish regions

Osteoarthritis patients are usually women (71.4%) with an average age of 68 years, retired, notably overweight (75%) and obese (50%), suffering from osteoarthritis at different points and almost double the probability of suffering other diseases when compared with other patients with the same characteristics not suffering from osteoarthritis. They mostly present arterial hypertension (62%), dyslipidemia (58’2%), type 2 diabetes mellitus (22’1%), gastroesophageal reflux (18.9%) and osteoporosis (12.2%). Furthermore, these patients suffer from anxiety and depression which have a statistically significant consumption of antidepressants and anxiolytic drugs.

These are the main conclusions of the EMARTRO study (Estudio para evaluar la coMorbilidad en pacientes afectos de ARTrosis sintomática de Rodilla) which involved 1,371 patients (both from rural and urban environments) and 61 primary care physicians from 13 different Spanish regions. It is an epidemiologic, observational, multicenter, transversal, comparative study between patients with, and without, osteoarthritis. It is the first study featuring these characteristics carried out at the national level by the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (SEMERGEN), in collaboration with Bioiberica. “We wanted to take a current picture of osteoarthritis in Spain, and this is why we gave our support to this study from the primary care sector, the medical specialty most often dealing with these patients. The information that they provided us, such as what are the most frequent comorbidities or associated diseases, will help us to better manage patients, and therefore to improve their quality of life”, declared Dr. José Luis Llisterri, president of SEMERGEN.

Another of the conclusions deal with pain and medication. The osteoarthritis patients that were recruited presented moderate to severe pain. Despite that, around 14% of them do not receive any treatment for osteoarthritis; and, of those receiving treatment, some 50% receive mostly paracetamol. “This fact is especially relevant because this drug has not been proved to be efficient for the treatment of osteoarthritis. We have also detected that 30% of patients take anti inflammatory drugs despite of the major cardiovascular risk involved”, explained Dr. Sergio Giménez Basallote, family physician and national coordinator of the SEMERGEN’s locomotor system group. He added that “in these patients it would be preferable to consider the use of other drugs, such as chondroitin sulfate, which are specific against osteoarthritis, for they have a proved efficacy and a high security profile.”

They have also noted that osteoarthritis patients have more gastroesophageal reflux-this might be related with the treatments they receive for their osteoarthritis. Moreover, they have more varicose veins, which might be associated both to treatments, as well as to the inactivity caused by knee osteoarthritis.

This collaboration project with SEMERGEN has allowed us to provide updated and complete information on osteoarthritis in Spain. Furthermore, with the in-depth analysis of the data, we might be able to identify patient groups and find out what drugs are more efficient and, above all, safer for them”, affirmed Dr. Josep Vergés, clinical pharmacologist and medical and scientific director at Bioiberica.

The EMARTRO study was presented this morning during the 37th National Congress of the SEMERGEN, currently being held in Valencia.