Pharmacists Help With Knee OA
Canadian researchers have shown that when pharmacists collaborate with physicians in the detection and treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee, patients have less pain and they experience improvement in function and quality of life. The study, published in Arthritis Care & Research, notes that medical evidence estimates that knee OA occurs in 10% of men and 13% of women over the age of 59. A release from the publishers says that prior research projects a 50% increase in OA prevalence over the next 10 to 20 years, with aging and obesity reported as the leading contributors to this increase.
The release quotes lead author Dr. Carlo Marra, PharmD, PhD, a Director with the Collaboration for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, as saying, “Many cases of knee OA go undiagnosed and patients often do not receive timely care to relieve pain, improve function and prevent disability. Our study investigates a multidisciplinary intervention that involves pharmacists in the identification and patient care for those with knee OA.”
For this trial, the researchers asked 14 pharmacies to provide intervention therapy and 18 pharmacies to offer usual care as a control. Two or more pharmacists at each location enrolled participants age 50 and older who had knee pain or stiffness on most days of the previous month and fulfilled other criteria such as having a high BMI, not exercising in the preceding six months, and having difficulty with activities because of knee pain. Patients in the intervention group had a significantly higher quality of OA care than those in the control group. “Our findings suggest that pharmacists can effectively initiate interventions that address the gaps in OA patient care," Marra said. "With the rise in OA, collaborative care presents a novel approach in prevent and treating those with knee OA.”