Racial differences in analgesic/anti-inflammatory medication use and perceptions of efficacy.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Pharmacotherapy is a key component to osteoarthritis (OA) treatment. Research has shown important racial differences in pain thresholds and perceptions, but little is known about racial variations in responses to pain medications. The purpose of this study was to compare perceptions of efficacy of pain medications among African-American and Caucasian veterans with OA. METHODS: Participants (N = 202; 70% Caucasian, 30% African-American) were under care for OA within the VA healthcare system. Participants rated the helpfulness of current analgesic/anti-inflammatory medications (scale of 1--not at all helpful to 10--very helpful). RESULTS: The mean rating of medication helpfulness was 6.1. African-American participants reported significantly greater ratings of medication helpfulness than Caucasians (6.6 vs. 5.9), controlling for demographics, disease severity, total number of analgesic/anti-inflammatory medications being taken, and the class of the medication. CONCLUSION: African Americans had somewhat more favorable perceptions of medication helpfulness than Caucasians. However, overall ratings of medication helpfulness were relatively low. Further research is needed to examine whether modifiable factors (such as low dosing or patient nonadherence to prescription instructions) contribute to perceptions of poor efficacy.
Dominick, KL; Bosworth, HB; Hsieh, JB; Moser, BK
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