Side Effects Concern Seniors

Published Online: Friday, October 1, 2004

When given a choice of arthritis treatment, seniors chose treatment with a low risk of side effects over effectiveness. In a study of 100 patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who were asked to assess various treatment options, a pain-relieving cream garnered the biggest response, even though it is less effective than other treatments, researchers reported recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Arthritis treatment includes weight loss, prescription and OTC drugs, and surgery. The most commonly used medicines to treat knee OA include OTC pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

For the current study, the patients were asked to select which arthritis treatment they would choose if they had to pay the full cost. Knowing that they would have to pay for the medication, >40% chose a topical cream with capsaicin. The patients only chose the newer NSAIDs, however, when told that they would be required to pay a small copay for treatment and that the drugs were 3 times more effective than capsaicin.

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