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Adherence Worse Among Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Taking NSAIDs

Jun 4, 2012

New Results from the National Health and Wellness Survey Show NSAID Users Are More Intentionally Non-Adherent and Have Worse Outcomes

NEW YORK, June 4, 2012—Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have worse outcomes than patients who take other prescription medications, according to new findings from the National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS), conducted by Kantar Health and presented today at the 17th Annual International Meeting for ISPOR (International Society for Pharmacoeconomic and Outcomes Research) in Washington, DC. The research shows that patients taking NSAIDs are more likely to be intentionally non-adherent compared with patients taking either biologic or non-biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

“Adherence to medications for chronic conditions is poor overall, and given RA’s progressive nature, poor adherence is of great concern and may contribute to poor health outcomes and increased costs,” says Amir Goren, Ph.D., Manager, Health Economics and Outcomes Research at Kantar Health.

Overall, 32% of NSAID users are intentionally non-adherent, compared with 13% among non-biologic DMARD users and 15% among biologic DMARD users. This, in turn, translates into worse outcomes for NSAID users compared with non-biologic DMARD users. NSAID users had substantially lower mental quality of life scores (42.96 versus 47.57) and physical quality of life scores (35.10 versus 38.35) than non-biologic DMARD users. Compared with biologic DMARD users, NSAID users are more frequently obese (43% vs. 30%) and have lower incomes (14% vs. 32% with income above $75,000). Finally, NSAID users are more likely to be uninsured compared with biologic and non-biologic DMARD users.

“The differences in adherence and, therefore, health outcomes between NSAID and DMARD users suggests that NSAID users are trying to manage their RA symptoms occasionally rather than viewing RA as a condition that needs to be managed on an ongoing basis,” Dr. Goren says. “A significant proportion of NSAID users are suffering from the burden of RA but may be unable to access more effective treatments. Helping RA patients who use NSAIDs gain access to disease-modifying therapies may help increase their adherence and health outcomes.”

Adherence was measured with the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-4), and health status was measured using the Short Form (SF)-12v2. Visit Kantar Health’s website to download the full poster, “Intentional and Unintentional Non-Adherence and Patient Characteristics Associated with Treatment in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients.”


About the National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS)

The study’s results were drawn from the 2011 US NHWS, a nationally representative, self-administered survey conducted annually via the Internet. Topics covered include the health status, attitudes, behaviors and outcomes among adults 18 or older.

Kantar Health conducts NHWS annually in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America. The survey is the largest self-reported database in the healthcare industry.


About Kantar Health (

Kantar Health is a global, evidence-based decision support partner to the world’s leading pharmaceutical, biotech, device and diagnostic companies. Our 700+ staff act as catalysts, working closely with customers to drive distinctive decision-making that helps them prioritize product development and portfolios, differentiate their brands and ensure product profitability after launch. We are unique in that we bring together clinical, medical and methodological expertise, commercial/marketing know-how and proprietary data. It is this rare combination, together with our unparalleled stakeholder reach, that enables us to mobilize incisive, imaginative and timely ROI-driven solutions, empowering clients to deliver better healthcare options to their customers.


With staff in over 40 countries, we excel at solving technically or logistically challenging projects around the world and across the product lifecycle, combining on-the-ground know-how and global and national proprietary data to quickly identify value drivers. As part of WPP, we can also incorporate highly innovative thinking from outside the industry into our solutions.


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