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Seven out of every ten osteoarthritis patients experience difficulties in their everyday activity

10 Sep 2013

• 96.3% say that they suffer pain, and 70.5% affirm that they experience difficulties in everyday activities such as walking. In addition, the patients give high marks to the personal attention provided by medical professionals, although they ask for longer visit times and more in-depth diagnostic tests. • Almost half of the patients taking chondroprotector drugs (48.4%) feel quite satisfied with their OA treatment, against only 36.6% among those not taking chondroprotectors. • These are some of the conclusions of the national survey answered by 500 OA patients from Andalusia, Catalonia, Galicia, Madrid and Valencia, with the support of four leagues against rheumatism.

Barcelona, September 10, 2013. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic inflammatory joint disease that seriously hampers the quality of life of persons suffering it. According to the results of a national survey carried out by the Psyma Ibérica firm, seven out of every ten OA patients experience difficulties in carrying out their daytime routine.

To be more precise, 1.3% state that they are ‘completely disabled’, 20.5% ‘quite disabled’ and 45% ‘somewhat disabled’. Everyone agree that pain (96.3%) and inability to carry out daytime routines (70.5%) are the factors most affecting their quality of life, causing them mood swings (41%) or depression (33%).

The survey consisted of interviews with 500 patients from Andalusia, Asturias, Catalonia, Galicia, Madrid and Valencia. Its aim was twofold: on one hand, to define the average profile of the Spanish OA patient; on the other hand, to assess the level of satisfaction of patients with medical care and the treatments they have received. The rheumatology leagues of Andalucia, Asturias, Catalonia and Galicia collaborated, while Bioibérica Farma provided support.

The average OA patient
The average age of surveyed patients was some 60 years, and 83% of them were women. 60% were diagnosis OA more than six years ago, and 18.5% say that they also have osteoporosis. The joints most damaged by OA are knees (68%) and hands (60.9%). Some 38.5% of surveyed patients visit their doctor 2-5 times per year, and a 25.7% more than five times per year.

Satisfaction level with medical care and treatment received
Patients give high marks (8.2 out of 10) to the personal treatment provided by medical professionals. They also place high value on their explanations and the importance that physicians give to OA. However, they give better marks to specialists than to primary care professionals, particularly in regard to diagnostic tests and visit length.

In regard to pharmacological treatment, the survey illustrates that several different types of drugs are combined to treat this disease. The most widely used ones are anti inflammatory drugs, analgesics, and chondroprotectors (such as chondroitin sulphate or glucosamine). Almost half (48.8%) of the patients surveyed that take chondroprotectors feel “notably satisfied” with their treatment, against only 36.6% of patients not taking them. Among the motives to be highlighted for the reported level of satisfaction are, at least initially, improvement or removal of pain (82%)-there is also the fact that chondroprotectors improve mobility (42%) and delay the disease’s progress (13%).

Finally, the survey’s results highlight that there are no significant differences between regions-however, they do exist between the patients belonging to a rheumatologic league and those not belonging to one. OA patients belonging to a rheumatic league say that they are better informed about their disease and well supported, something that has a positive impact in their quality of life.