Purpose: Although a number of osteoarthritis (OA) management guidelines exist, uptake has been suboptimal. Our aim was to review and critically evaluate existing OA management guidelines to better understand potential issues and barriers.
Methods: A systematic review of the literature in MEDLINE published from January 1, 2000 to April 1, 2013 was performed and supplemented by bibliographic reviews, following PRISMA guidelines and a written protocol. Following initial title and abstract screening, 2 authors independently reviewed full-text articles; a third settled disagreements. Two independent reviewers extracted data into a standardized form. Two authors independently assessed guideline quality using the AGREE II instrument; three generated summary recommendations based on the extracted guideline data.
Results: Overall, 16 articles were included in the final review. There was broad agreement on recommendations by the various organizations. For non-pharmacologic modalities, education/self-management, exercise, weight loss if overweight, walking aids as indicated, and thermal modalities were widely recommended. For appropriate patients, joint replacement was recommended; arthroscopy with debridement was not recommended for symptomatic knee OA. Pharmacologic modalities most recommended included acetaminophen/paracetamol (first line) and NSAIDs (topical or oral, second line). Intra-articular corticosteroids were generally recommended for hip and knee OA. Controversy remains about the use of acupuncture, knee braces, heel wedges, intra-articular hyaluronans, and glucosamine/chondroitin.
Conclusions: The relative agreement on many OA management recommendations across organizations indicates a problem with dissemination and implementation rather than a lack of quality guidelines. Future efforts should focus on optimizing implementation in primary care settings, where the majority of OA care occurs.
Keywords: Guidelines; Management; Osteoarthritis; Systematic review.
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