Pharmacoepidemiology of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use in Nottingham general practices

C J Hawkey, D J E Cullen, G Pearson, S Holmes, M Doherty, J V Wilson, P Garrud, S Garner, A Maynard, R F A Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To investigate the pharmacoepidemiology of NSAID usage in Nottingham general practices.

Design: Questionnaire sent to 1137 consecutive recipients of an NSAID prescription from 21 doctors in six general practices with computerized records. Patient responses were subsequently linked to data held on the practice records.

Setting: General practices in and around Nottingham, selected to reflect local variations in number of partners, list size, geographical location, deprivation, prescribing burden and prescribing rate.

Subjects: Unselected patients receiving NSAIDs prescribed for all indications.

Main outcome measures: Indication for treatment, differences in prescribing to different age groups, compliance and overall scheme drug exposure, drug effectiveness and tolerability, possible drug-related adverse events, patients' overall satisfaction with treatment and estimated costs of care.

Results: NSAIDs were used for a wide range of conditions and only a small number of patients had rheumatoid arthritis. The main drugs used were ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen. Patients making short-term use of NSAIDs had low compliance if they experienced adverse drug effects, whilst conversely in long-term users, those with high compliance reported more adverse drug effects. Calculated compliance did not vary with age although older patients (over 65 years) claimed in their questionnaires to be more compliant than younger patients.

Half the patients reported good or complete symptom relief. Half of those questions (and two thirds of those with good or complete symptom relief) rated their NSAID as the best treatment they had received for their current condition. The frequency of gastrointestinal adverse events was higher in the young and the old, which correlated with the use of anti-ulcer drugs, and increased with the total number of medications used.

Conclusions: NSAIDs are used for a wide-range of conditions. They give symptom relief to, and are perceived as effective by, most patients taking them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000



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