Medication taking in people with hip and knee osteoarthritis: An analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Toby O. Smith (Lead Author), Andrew Kemp, Michael J. Twigg

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Objectives: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a highly prevalent condition seen across primary care services. Although evidence‐based guidelines have encouraged the prescription of medications, including analgesics, for this population, there remains uncertainty as to which types of individuals actually take prescribed or over‐the‐counter medications. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether there is a difference in characteristics between people who take medicines for OA compared with those who do not.

Methods: A cross‐sectional analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) cohort was undertaken. Individuals who reported hip and/or knee OA pain were included. Data on medication taking were self‐reported and collected as part of the ELSA data collection programme. Logistic regression analyses were undertaken to determine the relationship between potential predictors (demographic, pathology‐specific, psychological, social and functional) and whether individuals took medications for their OA symptoms.

Results: A total of 654 participants reported OA: 543 medicine takers and 111 nontakers. Individuals who had access to a car (odds ratio [OR]: 56.2; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.35 to 941.36), those with a greater duration of hip pain (OR: 5.79; 95% CI: 1.40 to 24.0) and those who achieved 10 chair raises at greater speed (OR: 1.08; 95% CI: 1.03 to 1.14) were more likely to take OA medicines.

Conclusions: The study identified predictors for medication taking in individuals with hip and/or knee OA. Strategies are now warranted to provide better support to these individuals, to improve health and well‐being for this long‐term, disabling condition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-457
Number of pages8
JournalMusculoskeletal Care
Issue number4
Early online date30 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain relief
  • Degenerative
  • Hip
  • knee
  • Analgesics

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