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Older Adults Living with Osteoarthritis: Examining the Relationship of Age and Gender to Medicine Use*

  • Judith E. Fisher (a1), Peri J. Ballantyne (a2) and Gillian A. Hawker (a3)

Osteoarthritis (OA) in older adults is a prevalent chronic condition associated with substantial pain and disability. Oral analgesic use is a central component of symptom management. Medication use in this population, however, is complex and must balance the need for symptom control with drug safety concerns. Our study focus was to illustrate and discuss the variability in the medications used to manage OA-related symptoms. We analysed data from a sample of community-dwelling persons aged 55 and older with hip or knee arthritis to examine social and medical factors associated with reported variation in OA drugs. A key finding is that drug types used by OA patients vary by age and gender, independent of disease, and medical and social context. Possible explanations related to patient and professional preferences are considered.


L’ostéoarthrite (OA) chez les personnes âgées constitue une condition chronique et répandue associée à des douleurs importantes d’invalidité. L’utilisation d’analgésiques par voie orale est un élément central de la gestion des symptômes. L’utilisation de médicaments par cette population, cependant, est complexe et la nécessité de contrôler les symptômes doivent être mis en balance avec les préoccupations concernant la sécurité des médicaments. Notre étude s’est concentrée à illustrer et à explorer les variations entre divers médicaments différents utilisés pour gérer les symptômes liés à l’ostéoarthrite. Nous avons analysé les données provenant d’un échantillon de personnes âgées de 55 ans et plus, qui vivent dans les communautés, et qui souffrent d’arthrite de la hanche ou du genou pour examiner les facteurs sociaux et médicaux associés à la variation dans les médicaments rapporté. Une conclusion principale est que les types de médicaments utilisés par les patients atteints d’ostéoarthrite varient selon l’âge et le sexe, indépendamment de la maladie et du contexte médical et social. Les explications possibles ont été considérés comme relatives aux préférences des patients et des professionnels.

Corresponding author
Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to / La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: Judith E. Fisher, Ph.D. College of Pharmacy Dalhousie University 5968 College St. Halifax NS B3H3J5 (
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Judith E. Fisher received grant support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Peri J. Ballantyne received grant support from SSHRC. Gillian A. Hawker received grant support from CIHR.

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Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-on-aging-la-revue-canadienne-du-vieillissement
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