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September 1984

Economical Use of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Author Affiliations

Jacksonville, Fla

Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(9):1897. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.00350210227053

To the Editor.  —In 1983 our hospital prescribed $282,000 worth of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). By cost analysis, three of the top five medications prescribed were NSAIDs.We recently surveyed 100 NSAID prescriptions that were written for a quantity greater than a two-week supply of these medications. The NSAIDs evaluated were ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen, piroxicam, sulindac, and tolmetin. Patients were questioned by telephone seven to ten weeks after receiving the medication.Seventy-three percent of the patients stated that they had tried a similar agent but had discontinued its use because of ineffectiveness (79%) or side effects (21%). Of those patients who could clearly recall, 76% admitted discarding or not using a portion of the NSAID prescribed in the past. The current prescription was classified as effective by 78% of those surveyed.The prescribing of these medications is largely based on therapeutic trials, consequently, much waste is inherent. Even if one