Objective. To examine the prevalence and correlates of non-opioid and opioid analgesic use and descriptively evaluate potential undertreatment in a sample of community-dwelling elders with symptomatic knee and/or hip osteoarthritis (OA).
Setting. Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study.
Patients. Six hundred and fifty-two participants attending the year 6 visit (2002–03) with symptomatic knee and/or hip OA.
Outcome Measures. Analgesic use was defined as taking ≥1 non-opioid and/or ≥1 opioid receptor agonist. Non-opioid and opioid doses were standardized across all agents by dividing the daily dose used by the minimum effective analgesic daily dose. Inadequate pain control was defined as severe/extreme OA pain in the past 30 days from a modified Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index.
Results. Just over half (51.4%) reported taking at least one non-opioid analgesic and approximately 10% was taking an opioid, most (88.5%) of whom also took a non-opioid. One in five participants (19.3%) had inadequate pain control, 39% of whom were using <1 standardized daily dose of either a non-opioid or opioid analgesic. In adjusted analyses, severe/extreme OA pain was significantly associated with both non-opioid (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.44; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 1.49–3.99) and opioid (AOR = 2.64; 95% CI = 1.26–5.53) use.
Conclusions. Although older adults with severe/extreme knee and/or hip OA pain are more likely to take analgesics than those with less severe pain, a sizable proportion takes less than therapeutic doses and thus may be undertreated. Further research is needed to examine barriers to optimal analgesic use.