Racial/ethnic variations in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use among patients with osteoarthritis

Kelli L. Dominick, Hayden B. Bosworth, Amy S. Jeffreys, Steven C. Grambow, Eugene Z. Oddone, Ronnie D. Horner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Purpose. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most commonly prescribed drugs for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA). While there are documented racial differences in the use of opioid analgesics, little is known about racial differences in the use of NSAIDs. Methods. This was a retrospective cohort study among a national sample of 6038 veterans with OA. Patients were new NSAID users, followed for approximately 6 months. Primary outcomes included: type of NSAID prescribed (COX-2 selective or preferentially COX-2 selective NSAIDs vs other NSAIDs), days' supply of initial prescription and time to discontinuation of the index NSAID. Results. In an analysis adjusted for demographic and gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding risk factors (age, sex, geographic region, history of GI bleeding, comorbid illnesses, use of anti-coagulants and glucocorticoids), Hispanics were less likely than whites to be prescribed an NSAID with some degree of COX-2 selectivity (odds ratio (OR): 0.47, p < 0.01). The days' supply of the initial prescription was lower for both blacks and Hispanics compared to whites (mean: 38, 31 and 43 days respectively, p < 0.01). In an analysis adjusted for demographics, GI bleeding risk factors and type of NSAID prescribed, blacks discontinued use of the index NSAID earlier than whites (hazard ratio = 1.19, p < 0.001) and there was a similar trend for Hispanics. Conclusion. Minorities with OA were prescribed NSAIDs with less COX-2 selectivity and lower days' supply than whites. Further research should address underlying reasons and whether these differences impact outcomes such as pain control, side effects and cost-effectiveness of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-694
Number of pages12
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethnic groups
  • Health services research
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Physician's practice patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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