ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a widely used class of therapy in the treatment of chronic pain and inflammation. The drugs are effective and can be relatively inexpensive thanks to available generic versions. Unfortunately the traditional NSAIDs are associated with gastrointestinal complications in a small proportion of patients, requiring costly co-therapy with gastro-protective agents. Recently, a new class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents known as coxibs has become available, fashioned to be safer than the traditional NSAIDs but priced considerably higher than the traditional generics. To help physicians choose appropriately and cost-effectively from the expanded number of anti-inflammatory therapies, scientific bodies have issued clinical practice guidelines and third party payers have published restricted reimbursement policies. The objective of this study is to determine whether an educational intervention can prompt physicians to adjust their prescribing in accordance with these expert recommendations. METHODS: This is an ongoing, randomized controlled trial. All primary care physicians in Manitoba, Canada have been randomly assigned to a control group or an intervention study group. The educational intervention being evaluated consists of an audit and feedback mechanism combined with optional participation in a Continuing Medical Education interactive workshop. The primary outcome of the study is the change, from pre-to post-intervention, in physicians' appropriate prescribing of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory therapies for patients requiring chronic treatment. Three classes of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory therapies have been identified: coxib therapy, traditional NSAID monotherapy, and traditional NSAID therapy combined with gastro-protective agents. Appropriate prescribing is defined based on international clinical practice guidelines and the provincial drug reimbursement policy in Manitoba.
BMC Health Services Research 09/2004; 4(1):21. · 1.66 Impact Factor