Chronic pain

Osteoarthritis: which options to consider after treatment failure?

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Educational Objective: To provide clarity over the therapeutic options for the management of osteoarthritis (OA)-associated chronic pain following treatment failure.
Specialty: General Practice, Family Medicine
Target Audience: CME (intermediate, advanced), Residents (senior)
Latest update: February 2022

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and is characterised by chronic pain and functional disability. While referral to specialists is key in managing and addressing this health problem, the role of general practitioners (GPs) encompasses other essential steps including diagnosis, patient education, core management, defining pharmacological strategies, and follow-up of OA patients. Guidelines indicate the ideal clinical algorithm, but real-life patients often present with more complex profiles. Translating the available guidelines into appropriate decision making in daily clinical practice is therefore crucial.

EURACT and WONCA Europe, together with the medical education society ISSECAM and a multidisciplinary specialist panel covering rheumatology, anaesthesiology, and orthopaedic surgery, have developed this case-based CME programme to allow efficient learning on OA-associated chronic pain management in family medicine.

This topic presents a series of 7 cases addressing clinical strategies to deal with OA-associated chronic pain following treatment failure. Conservative treatment of OA may fail over time, resulting in progression and worsening of OA-related symptoms. Second-line treatment strategies should be tailored to the patient’s needs, taking into account comorbidities and medical history.