Introduction

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) defines osteoarthritis (OA) as ‘a chronic disease … characterised by joint pain, stiffness and swelling [that] mainly affects the hands, knees and hips.1’ It is a condition predominantly seen in people over 55 where joint injury and being overweight or obese are contributing risk factors.1 Australia currently has an aging population. The rate of OA is expected to rise from 2.2 million in 2015 to nearly 3.1 million by 2030.1 There is currently no cure for OA. Treatment options revolve around symptom management.

Learning objectives

After successful completion of this CPD activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Summarise current evidence and recommendations for the topical treatment of osteoarthritis
  • Explain when topical treatment options may be appropriate
  • Discuss the available evidence for the use of oral paracetamol and NSAIDs in osteoarthritis.

Competencies (2016) addressed: 1.1, 1.5, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.5, 3.6

Accreditation code: CAP1907D

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Inflammatory mediators (cytokines and prostaglandins) are

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