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Involving pharmacists, physiotherapists, and primary care physicians in caring for patients with osteoarthritis improves the quality of care, along with patients' function, pain, and quality of life.
Involving pharmacists, physiotherapists, and primary care physicians in caring for patients with osteoarthritis (OA) improves the quality of care, along with patients' function, pain, and quality of life, according to Canadian researchers. Their study represents the first evidence supporting a collaborative approach to managing knee OA.
Marra and associates conducted a randomized controlled trial in which 14 pharmacies provided intervention therapy and 18 pharmacies offered usual care (control). At least 2 pharmacists at each location were asked to identify and enroll patients aged 50 years or older who had knee pain or stiffness on most days of the past month and fulfilled other criteria, such as having a body mass index greater than 25 kg/m2, not having participated in a formal exercise program in the previous 6 months, and having difficulty with activities because of knee pain. The patients in the intervention arm received OA screening questionnaires, education, pain medication management, physical therapy exercises, and primary care physician communication. An educational pamphlet was given to patients in the control group.
Patients in the intervention arm received a significantly higher quality of OA care than those in the control group. At 3 months and 6 months, patients in the intervention arm saw significantly greater improvement in their overall pain and function scores than those who received usual care.
The authors suggested that pharmacists can effectively initiate interventions that address the current gaps in OA patient care. The study was published in Arthritis Care & Research, an American College of Rheumatology journal.