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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 publication




Journal article


Musculoskeletal care

Publication Date





450 - 457


analgesics, degenerative, hip, knee, osteoarthritis, pain relief, Age Factors, Aged, Analgesics, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Osteoarthritis, Hip, Osteoarthritis, Knee, Patient Acceptance of Health Care, Self Report