Ueda K, Takura T, Fujikoshi S, Meyers J, Nagar SP, Enomoto H. Long-term pain management and health care resource use among an employed population in Japan with knee osteoarthritis combined with low back pain. Pain Med. 2021 Dec 11;22(12):3041-50. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnaa424

OBJECTIVE: Assess long-term comorbidity burden and pain management patterns among working-age patients with knee osteoarthritis (KOA) only without low back pain (LBP) (KOA-noLBP) and patients with KOA plus LBP (KOA+LBP) in Japan.

METHODS: Retrospective claims data analyses were conducted on data from the Japan Medical Data Center (JMDC) database. Adult patients (≥40 years) with a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) (January 1, 2011-December 31, 2012) and 5 years of follow-up were evaluated. The first claim with a KOA diagnosis defined the index date. Longitudinal pain management patterns were assessed in both cohorts.

RESULTS: Overall, 1,828 patients met study criteria (717 with KOA-noLBP; 1,111 with KOA+LBP). The mean age of patients with KOA-noLBP was 52.1 years, and that of patients with KOA+LBP was 53.1 years, with more females in the KOA+LBP cohort (49.4% vs. 55.0%). Regardless of cohort, >90% of patients received pharmacological intervention during the 5-year follow-up period. The most common regimen first received was either topical or oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A higher mean number of pharmaceutical treatments were received by patients in the KOA+LBP cohort (3.6) than by patients in the KOA-noLBP cohort (2.7) during the follow-up period. Regardless of cohort, most of the direct medical cost was derived from medication.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that a greater proportion of the JMDC population of working individuals with KOA were comorbid with LBP and received pain-related treatment in the long-term perspective relative to patients with KOA without LBP. Appropriate pain management for both KOA and LBP would be key for effective resource utilization in an aging society facing socioeconomic burdens.

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