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Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2010 Apr;62(4):510-5. doi: 10.1002/acr.20170.

After patients are diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, what do they do?

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University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



To learn more about the health services and products that patients use after receiving a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis (OA), as well as the trajectory of their health-related quality of life (HRQOL).


Using a simple screening survey, community pharmacists identified 194 participants with previously undiagnosed knee OA. Of these participants, 190 were confirmed to have OA on further investigation. At baseline and 1, 3, and 6 months after diagnosis, a survey was administered to assess health services, product use, and HRQOL, including the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36) health survey, the Paper Adaptive Test (PAT-5D-QOL), and the Health Utilities Index Mark 3.


With a mean age of 63 years, participants were mostly women, white, and overweight. By 6 months, more than 90% of the participants had visited their family physician to discuss their OA, and more than 50% of participants took either prescription or nonprescription analgesics. In addition, three-quarters of the participants started exercising, one-third initiated activity aids, and one-third had started natural medicine products. At 6 months compared with baseline, significant improvements were seen in the SF-36 physical component summary (P = 0.001) and bodily pain domain scores (P = 0.02), the PAT-5D-QOL overall, pain, and usual daily activities scores (P < 0.001 for all), and the WOMAC total, pain, and function scores (P < 0.001 for all).


Within 6 months of receiving a diagnosis of knee OA, participants made several lifestyle interventions, often without the advice of a health professional, and saw improvements in their pain and function.

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