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OA associated with alcohol and drug abuse

Presented by
Dr Anne Kamps, Erasmus University Medical Center, the Netherlands
EULAR 2022
Obesity and back pain are well-known comorbidities of osteoarthritis (OA). A study revealed that comorbidities of OA are much more diverse and include conditions such as anaemia, cataract, and hearing loss, but also a higher risk for addiction.

Although previous studies have already shown that patients with OA have a higher risk of developing comorbidities, many focused on only 1 or a few conditions. As Dr Anne Kamps (Erasmus University Medical Center, the Netherlands) pointed out, 1 in 4 adults with OA has ≥2 chronic conditions, which is a considerable burden on the healthcare system and the quality-of-life [1]. “We wanted to determine the risk of comorbidity after incident diagnosis of hip or knee OA compared with individuals with no prior diagnosis of OA,” said Dr Kamps. Together with her team, she used an integrated primary care information database from general practices with >2.5 million patients from the Dutch population.

The study population consisted of over 1.8 million patients and examined 58 comorbidities. Overall, patients previously diagnosed with OA had an increased risk of a subsequent diagnosis in about 50% of comorbidities studied. Moreover, the wide variety of comorbidities included not only known cardiovascular factors, such as obesity or other musculoskeletal diseases such as gout, back and neck pain, but also anaemia, cataracts, chronic kidney disease, coronary heart disease, hearing loss, sleep disorders, and thromboembolic disease. In OA patients, the largest associations were found for obesity (HR 2.55), fibromyalgia (HR 2.06), polymyalgia (HR 1.72), drug abuse (HR 1.40), and rheumatoid arthritis (HR 1.52).  Particularly in patients with hip OA, the largest positive associations were noticed with polymyalgia rheumatica (HR 1.81), fibromyalgia (HR 1.70), spinal disc herniation (HR 1.64), thromboembolic disease (HR 1.47), and alcohol abuse (HR 1.44).

“Whereas associations with obesity and other musculoskeletal conditions were known previously, we found remarkable and less known associations that should be starting points for future research,” Dr Kamp said. Further studies should evaluate whether these comorbidities are prevalent due to shared risk factors or a result of the OA.

  1. Kamps A, et al. Risk of comorbidity following osteoarthritis diagnosis: a cohort study in the Netherlands from the FOREUM* Initiative. OP0225, EULAR 2022 Congress, 1–4 June, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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