BACKGROUND: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used commonly to treat osteoarthritis in older patients.
OBJECTIVE: to explore the understandings of risk that older-aged primary care patients have in the context of the use of oral NSAIDs to treat osteoarthritis.
METHOD: semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 patients who were recruited from four general practices located in Sydney, Australia. Patients were aged at least 65 years and were currently taking, or in the past 2 years had taken, an NSAID for osteoarthritis. Emergent themes were identified from the transcripts and were compared within and across transcripts to develop more abstract concepts.
RESULTS: patients demonstrated three key 'modes of disengagement' from medication-specific risk information, each of which could also be a mode of modulating a sense of danger and each of which would demand a unique clinical response. These were: 'transference of responsibility'-transferring the responsibility to their GP, 'general versus specific risk'-considering the risk of taking medicine in general as opposed to the specific risk of taking an NSAID, and 'personal immunity'-some patients with a long history of NSAID use without apparent toxicity believed they were, therefore, not at risk of future adverse effects, while a few patients believed they were immune to adverse effects of drugs in general.
CONCLUSION: there is a need for greater recognition of these 'modes of disengagement'/'hazard modulation' in order to attain a clinical response leading to safer, more effective and more ethical use of medicines.
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- risk perception
- qualitative research