Use and Costs of Prescription Medications and Alternative Treatments in Patients with Osteoarthritis and Chronic Low Back Pain in Community-Based Settings

Mugdha Gore, Kei Sing Tai, Alesia Sadosky, Douglas Leslie, Brett R. Stacey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the use and direct medical costs of pharmacologic and alternative treatments for patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and chronic low back pain (CLBP). Methods: The LifeLink™ Health Plan Claims Database was used to identify patients ≥18years old, diagnosed with OA (N=112,951) or CLBP (N=101,294). Of these patients, 64,085 with OA and 47,386 with CLBP received pain-related treatments during CY2008 and were selected for inclusion. For patients in both cohorts, pharmacologic and alternative treatments, and direct medical costs were examined during CY2008. Results: Opioids were the most frequently prescribed medication (>70%) in both groups, followed by nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (>50%). Over 30% received antidepressants, >20% received benzodiazepines, and 15% in each group received sedative hypnotics. Use of alternative treatments was as follows: chiropractor, OA 11%, CLBP 34%; physical therapy, 20% in both groups; transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulations (TENS), OA 14%, CLBP 22%; acupuncture, hydrotherapy, massage therapy, and biofeedback,

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-560
Number of pages11
JournalPain Practice
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012



  • Alternative treatments
  • Burden
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Direct medical costs
  • Medications
  • Osteoarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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