Last Updated: 2008-02-11 13:02:04 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – The results of a new study indicate that patients who use two or more NSAIDs have a worse health-related quality of life (HRQOL) than their peers who use one.

"Patients may self-manage their pain to improve their daily activities by taking more than one NSAID. However, by attempting to obtain symptom relief, patients may be putting themselves at risk for complications," concludes lead author Dr. Stacey H. Kovac, from the Durham VA Medical Center in North Carolina, and colleagues.

Prior research has established a strong link between multiple NSAID use and gastrointestinal problems, but it was unclear if this practice affected HRQOL, according to the report in Arthritis Care and Research for February.

To investigate, Dr. Kovac’s team conducted telephone interviews, incorporating the Short Form 12 Health Survey (SF-12) for 138 patients from a large regional managed care organization who had filled one or more NSAID prescription between February and August 2002.

Overall, 26% of subjects used two or more NSAIDs, the report indicates. These patients had a lower Physical Component Summary score on the SF-12 than did mono-NSAID users, suggesting a poorer HRQOL.

Whether multiple NSAID use impairs HRQOL itself or whether it simply reflects a more severe underlying disease that is responsible will require further study, the authors note.

Arthr Care Res 2008;59:227-233.

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