Original Article

Use of Conventional and Nonconventional Treatments for Osteoarthritis in the Family Medicine Setting

Authors: Betsy Sleath, PhD, William D. Cahoon Jr., PharmD, Philip D. Sloane, MD, MPH, Leigh F. Callahan, PhD


Background: The purpose of this study was to examine: (a) the extent to which patients report having used conventional and nonconventional treatments for osteoarthritis in family medicine settings and (b) how patient characteristics are related to the use of these treatments.

Methods: A survey was sent to 2,178 patients with arthritis. The current analysis focuses on the 557 patients with osteoarthritis. Multivariable logistic regression was used to analyze the data.

Results: Sixty-three percent of patients reported the use of conventional and unconventional therapies. White patients and patients experiencing greater pain were more likely to report the use of conventional therapies. Female, married, and more educated patients, and persons reporting more pain and greater difficulty sleeping were significantly more likely to report the use of nonconventional therapies.

Conclusion: Providers should make sure to ask patients about all treatments they are using for their osteoarthritis.

Key Points

* Eighty-three percent of patients reported currently using one or more conventional therapies.

* White patients and patients experiencing greater pain were more likely to report the use of one or more conventional therapies.

* Seventy-three percent of patients reported using one or more nonconventional therapies.

* Female, married, more educated patients, and persons reporting more pain and greater difficulty sleeping were significantly more likely to report the use of one or more nonconventional therapies.

* Sixty-three percent of patients with osteoarthritis reported using both conventional and nonconventional therapies.

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