Background Available by prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, commonly called NSAIDs,can relieve pain, reduce inflammation and lower fevers. Even so NSAIDs have received much negative attention during the last few years – particularly because of concerns about cardiovascular, gastrointestinal side effects and liver damage. But what is the real reason of increasing level of NSAID's side-effects – whether NSAIDs by themselves or lack of knowledge of patients about possible side-effects of them?
Objectives To investigate patient's initial awareness of possible side-effects of NSAIDs, their attitude to safety of NSAIDs, before undergoing educational programs.
Methods This descriptive study was conducted among in-patient and out-patient rheumatology patients, who are participating in our ongoing educational programs for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Patients' thoughts and perceptions about safety of NSAIDs were evaluated with using a personal questionnaire given to the all patients.
Results A personal questionnaire was developed to assess awareness of patients of possible side-effects of NSAIDs. All of them - 122 female (middle age 49,7±9,15) and 28 male (middle age 42±8,47) had painful articular syndrome. To relive pain, 96,7% of them took NSAIDs. As a source of knowledge of NSAIDs, only 60% of patients answered “physician”, other 40% answered “another sources of information” (including “independently” – 23,7% and “from pharmacist in a pharmacy” – 16,3%). 52,7% of respondents considered NSAIDs as non-safety drug, the rest of the respondents considered NSAIDs as absolutely safe drugs. The distribution between cardio-, gastro- and nephrotoxicity was almost equally (32,5%, 36,4% and 31,1% respectively). Rural patients were more alertness to NSAIDs, than urban patients, considering them as non-safety drug (73,5% and 45,7% respectively, p<0,05). Among in-patient patients the number of those, who consider NSAIDs as non-safety drug, was higher, than among out-patient patients (65,4% and 34,6% respectively, p<0,05). Patients with higher education were also more alertness to NSAIDs, than those with secondary education (60,9% and 39,1% respectively, p<0,05). The alertness to NSAIDs was higher in those patients, who took NSAIDs in case of need, than in those, who took them constantly (45,3% and 31,2% respectively, p<0,05). The higher point accordingly to Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) had patients, who took NSAIDs constantly or took several NSAIDs simultaneously (6,7±2,47 and 6,5±2,13),than in those, who took NSAIDs 2-3 times/week (5,8±2,49).
Conclusions Relying on the findings of our investigation, presumably the majority of patients have wrong perception of NSAIDs, considering them, in most cases, as absolutely safety drug. The frequency and amount of taken NSAIDs depends more of pain level, than of ignorance of NSAIDs side-effect. In The fact, that among rheumatologic patients prevail elderly, who regularly take aspirin, as well as OTC sale of NSAIDs, high level of pain and a lack of awareness about possible insecurity of NSAIDs create conditions for growth of the side-effects of NSAIDs. In this regard, there is a high need for patient educational programs and counseling to increase the knowledge about these drugs and thus to affect on reducing the level of NSAID's side-effect.
Disclosure of Interest None declared
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