Osteoarthritis Management- Pharmacist
Osteoarthritis (OA) – also called degenerative joint disease – is the most common chronic joint condition, affecting about 27 million Americans. The resulting pain, stiffness, and swelling can affect mobility, productivity, and quality of life. While no treatment has been shown to slow the progression of joint damage, a combination of non-drug interventions and drug therapy can be used to manage symptoms and improve mobility. Resistance exercise, weight loss, and psychosocial interventions are among the non-drug interventions recommended for osteoarthritis patients. Recommended drug therapies include acetaminophen, oral and topical nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), tramadol, and intra-articular corticosteroid injections. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) provides recommendations for the management of hand, knee, and hip OA.3 The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) provides somewhat different recommendations for the management of knee and hip OA. Drug therapy recommendations are summarized in the Appendix. This issue will focus on oral medications and complementary therapies commonly used for the treatment of OA – particularly OA of the knee, hip, and hand – based on ACR and AAOS guidelines,3-5 as well as other evidence-based literature.