Analgesic use for knee and hip osteoarthritis in community-dwelling elders

Zachary A. Marcum, Subashan Perera, Julie M. Donohue, Robert M. Boudreau, Anne B. Newman, Christine M. Ruby, Stephanie A. Studenski, C. Kent Kwoh, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Doug C. Bauer, Suzanne Satterfield, Joseph T. Hanlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


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). Design. Cross-sectional. 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. Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1628-1636
Number of pages9
JournalPain Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Aged
  • Analgesic
  • Osteoarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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