Although an Iroko Pharmaceuticals-funded survey of 1,056 American adults showed 77% of those surveyed experienced at least some type of pain and 43% experienced pain weekly, half of respondents were unfamiliar with NSAIDs. Iroko is consulting with the Arthritis Foundation to further evaluate the survey results, according to a company press release.
Among respondents familiar with NSAIDs, many could not identify common brand name NSAIDs, such as Advil, Aleve or Excedrin. About 33% of respondents noted a high-dose medication is required to treat their pain, and 31% reported their pain was completely controlled. About 34% noted they ignore their pain and 58% do not discuss pain management with their doctors, according to the survey results.
A lack of awareness of the side effects of NSAIDs was found among the respondents. About 58% of respondents noted they were aware risks were associated with NSAID use, but 27% were aware of FDA recommendations to use the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration possible. Of participants who used NSAIDs or other over-the-counter pain medications, 62% reported they experienced at least one side effect.
Overall, 48% reported high confidence that their pain medications were safe and the most effective for their treatment. About 52% of patients surveyed reported a lack of awareness about low-dose pain medications.
Anita Gupta, DO, PharmD, vice chairman and associate professor at Drexel University College of Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Pain Medicine and Regional Anesthesiology, said the purpose of the survey was to gain understanding about how people are managing their pain.
Gupta said there is a general awareness of NSAIDs, but not specific information.
“A lot of people do not even know that there are low-dose options and many individuals are not even able to identify which drugs are NSAIDs,” Gupta told Healio.com/Rheumatology.
FDA recommendations advise taking the lowest effective does for the shortest duration of time, Gupta said. She added that patients with pain, particularly chronic pain, need to open up a dialogue with their physicians about managing the pain and the potential side effects of NSAIDs.
“A lot of people are not talking to their doctor. One in three admit they are ignoring their pain,” Gupta said. “NSAIDs can be used safely, but there are safety concerns whether or not they are over-the-counter or by prescription. We need to make sure we are talking to patients about how to safely use these medications.
“NSAIDs can be powerful if used safely, and can be part of combination therapy. They can lower the amount needed for other options. Many patients are self-treating, so it is important physicians have these conversations."