Objective: Insufficient data are available on the efficacy of combined conservative interventions recommended by treatment guidelines for knee/hip osteoarthritis (OA). The aims of this observational cohort study were (i) to estimate the results of an evidence-based 12-week tailored multimodal conservative treatment protocol for patients with knee/hip OA and (ii) to identify predictors for response.
Methods: After obtaining data on previous OA-related interventions, multimodal treatment was offered to patients with knee and/or hip OA at a specialized outpatient clinic. Treatment with analgesics was tailored using a numeric rating scale (NRS) for pain, aiming for NRS ≤ 4. The following outcome measures were assessed: (i) the proportion of patients fulfilling OMERACT-OARSI (Outcome Measures in Rheumatoid Arthritis Clinical Trials/Osteoarthritis Research Society International) responder criteria and (ii) the proportion of patients with NRS pain ≤ 4 after 12 weeks.
Results: A total of 183 out of 299 patients was included. OMERACT-OARSI responder criteria were fulfilled at 12 weeks in 47% of patients; 39% reached NRS pain ≤ 4. The only independent predictor for response was the number of previously used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The majority of patients had not been exposed adequately to conservative treatment modalities for knee and/or hip OA in the past (81%).
Conclusion: Evidence-based multimodal conservative treatment using a standardized protocol for knee and/or hip OA is feasible and successful in 47% of patients. In general, response could not be predicted. Basic first-line recommended conservative treatment options have not been used adequately prior to referral to secondary care in the vast majority of patients.