Osteoarthritis: A Large and Growing Medical Problem
Osteoarthritis (OA) — the most common form of arthritis — compromises quality of life and is a major cause of disability. In OA, the long term breakdown of joint tissues leads to pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. The prevalence of OA is growing, driven by aging, obesity, and sports injuries. An estimated 27 million adults in the U.S. and more than 100 million people worldwide currently suffer from OA, and almost 50% of people in the U.S. will experience the pain of OA in their lifetime.
OA commonly affects older patients who have other illnesses and are taking concomitant medications. Because of this and the fact that OA, while debilitating, is not life-threatening, safety of new therapies is of paramount importance. Current treatments fall short of meeting the medical needs of patients and can have serious systemic safety liabilities:
- Available oral therapies have limited effect on symptoms and have been associated with significant side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding and cardiovascular events.
- Available intra-articular (IA) therapies are generally well-tolerated but provide limited therapeutic effect. In controlled clinical trials HA performs marginally better than saline and while standard IA steroids provide good pain relief, their duration of effect is inadequate.
Nonetheless, IA injections are very common in the treatment of OA with more than 7 million injections per year in the U.S. projected to grow to 10 million injections by 2015. There remains a substantial need for therapies that:
- Improve efficacy and duration of treatment effect
- Avoid the risk of serious side effects
- Offer the potential for disease modification
Flexion has developed a diversified portfolio of intra-articular therapeutics to meet this pressing medical need.
- Combining novel pharmacology with validated targets
- Applying proprietary formulation technology to assure sustained therapeutic concentrations at the site of disease while minimizing systemic side effects.
- Treating the spectrum of disease and potentially modifying disease progression.
- Providing products that conform to the established office routines and treatment regimens of orthopedists, rheumatologists, and sports medicine specialists treating OA.