The usefulness of anti-inflammatory drugs in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is beyond dispute. The role of simple analgesics is less clear and has been disputed. A survey of 21 rheumatologists indicated that a majority sometimes supplemented anti-inflammatory treatment of RA with simple analgesics. A random sample of 120 RA patients treated by the same doctors revealed that 47% ranked pain relief as the most desirable objective of their treatment and 54% were taking analgesics regularly. Of those receiving analgesics as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs 48% considered the former to be the more effective preparations. Almost half the patients on analgesics were taking drugs without the knowledge of the rheumatologists, who may have underestimated their patients' desire for pain relief.
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