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HMO Pharmacy Directors, Physicians View Off-Label Prescribing as an Acceptable Practice in Managing Arthritis Pain

WALTHAM, Mass., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, Inc., one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and health care issues, finds that more than 90% of HMO pharmacy directors and physicians view off-label prescribing as an acceptable practice in the management of arthritis pain. According to a new PhysicianForum report entitled Arthritis Pain Management: Current Medical Practice and Future Evolution of the Market, the drug classes most commonly prescribed off-label for arthritic pain management are antiepileptics and antidepressants.

The report also finds that advertising of arthritis pain therapies reaches 55-75% of patients. Pfizer's Celebrex and Merck's Vioxx are the most frequently remembered advertisements.

"Although advertising of arthritis pain therapies reaches 55-75% of patients, only 15-25% of patients request an arthritis pain therapy from their physician based on an advertisement," said Alice von Loesecke, senior director at Decision Resources. "Patients report their most commonly requested therapies are the three COX-2s (Celebrex, Vioxx, and Pfizer's Bextra) and various opiates."

Arthritis Pain Management: Current Medical Practice and Future Evolution of the Market is based on a survey of 25 HMO pharmacy directors, 95 primary care physicians, 53 rheumatologists, 364 osteoarthritis patients (51% female, 49% male), 147 rheumatoid arthritis patients (48% female, 52% male), and 69 dual-diagnosis rheumatoid arthritis + osteoarthritis patients (59% female, 41% male) throughout the United States. Their responses were compared to assess similarities and differences in clinical, economic, and scientific factors.

About PhysicianForum

PhysicianForum is a new primary research service from Decision Resources. The service offers access to high volume-prescribing PCPs, specialists, and managed care organization representatives in the United States; analysis of events and survey participants' responses to them; insight into prescribing patterns; and an examination of the implications for the pharmaceutical market.

Source: Decision Resources

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