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Patients unaware of NSAID side-effects

Nearly half of patients on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are ignorant of their potential side-effects, a new study shows.

Men and those with the highest risk of gastrointestinal disease are the least informed, according to researchers at the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

They carried out a prospective assessment of 202 outpatients at a rheumatology clinic who were currently on either an NSAID or Cox-2 inhibitor. Patients' knowledge of side-effects was found to be 'poor' ­ only 55 per cent knew

at least one recognised side-

effect of NSAIDs. Researchers also assessed patients' individual risk of gastrointestinal disease during the three-month study.

Some 16 per cent were deemed high-risk for NSAID gastropathy. A further 71 per cent were considered medium risk. Gastroprotective drugs were prescribed to 31 per cent of those on either type of drug.

Glasgow GP Dr Gill Hosie, past-president of the Primary Care Rheumatology Society, said: 'With major side-effects it is important patients are told but it's difficult to know how much they take in.'

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