Community pharmacists can help improve osteoarthritis care

By News team

Community pharmacists can identify patients with previously undiagnosed osteoarthritis of the knee, and be the catalyst for improving their quality of care as part of a multidisciplinary team in the community, according to the results of a Canadian study published online yesterday in  (28 August 2012).

When community pharmacists offered patients additional support, which included a one-to-one consultation, educational materials, a medication review and referral to a physiotherapist for exercise, patients’ quality of care improved compared with those who only received an educational pamphlet about their condition (see Panel).

There was evidence that patients given additional pharmacy support — which also involved keeping the patient’s GP informed — had better pain control, took part in more exercise, were able to function better and were no longer overweight.

The researchers say: "These results suggest that community pharmacists can effectively launch a multidisciplinary intervention to address the gaps in knee osteoarthritis patient care, including identification and utilisation of . . . treatment options."

Study method and findings

The study involved 32 community pharmacies in Vancouver and 139 patients who had presented with undiagnosed knee osteoarthritis.

A control group of 66 patients were given an educational pamphlet about their condition, while the 73 patients in the intervention group received additional pharmacy support.

The intervention group achieved a measurable increase in more than a half of the Arthritis Foundation quality indicators for the management of knee osteoarthritis.

The overall indicator pass rate was significantly higher in the intervention group compared with the control group (difference of 45.2 per cent, 95 per cent confidence interval 34.5–55.9, P<0.0001).

Improvements in pain and function scores in the intervention group at three and six months were also recorded.

Citation: The Salvadore URI: 11105758

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