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Can Fam Physician. Dec 2004; 50: 1664–1670.
PMCID: PMC2214529

Managing osteoarthritis. Medication use among seniors in the community.


OBJECTIVE: To determine what types of medication seniors in the community were using to manage osteoarthritis (OA). DESIGN: Mailed self-administered survey. SETTING: Three family medicine community practice sites in cities in Nova Scotia. PARTICIPANTS: All seniors (aged 65 and older) on the electronic record of each practice site with a physician-confirmed diagnosis of OA (N = 244). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of seniors using prescribed medications or self-care products (nonprescribed medications and herbal and natural health products) for OA. RESULTS: Response rate was 78%. About 15% were using no medication, 74% were using at least one type of self-care product (60% were using nonprescribed medications, and 45% were using herbal and natural health products), and 52% were using prescribed medications alone or in combination with self-care products. CONCLUSION: Seniors' use of prescribed and self-care products for OA is very high. Physicians must be aware that patients seeking prescriptions likely are also using self-care products. The potential for drug interactions is high; patients should be made aware of the risks associated with taking multiple products.

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Selected References

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