Osteoarthritis (OA) is a growing epidemic in the United States:
- OA is the most common joint disease.
- ~30 million Americans are affected, with numbers expected to grow as a result of aging, obesity and sports injuries.
- Average age of physician-diagnosed knee OA has fallen by 16 years, from 72 in the 1990s to 56 in the 2010s.
- Approximately 35% of U.S. adults are obese, which increases the risk of developing OA.
- Knee injury is common, particularly amongst young athletes, and increases the risk of developing OA by more than fivefold.
- 1 in 2 Americans is expected to develop symptomatic knee OA, the most common form of OA, during their lifetime.
- OA pain management strategies include exercise, weight management, physical therapy and pharmacologic interventions.
- More than half of patients with knee OA ultimately undergo total joint replacement, a procedure which has grown 217% from 1992-2011. This surgical procedure has risk, substantial cost, and does not always achieve a satisfactory outcome.
- OA accounts for over $185 billion of annual healthcare expenditures, which does not include loss of productivity costs.
- CDC shows an increasing number of OA diagnoses, which will lead to additional healthcare resource utilization.
- As reported in an Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) white paper (Nov 2016), “subjects in the US cohort with symptomatic radiographic knee OA were 23% more likely to die prematurely than people free from OA, independent of age, sex and race.”
- Oral drugs offer analgesia for early-stage OA, providing pain relief for a limited duration and can be associated with serious side effects with prolonged use.
- Opioids are frequently used, prescribed to approximately 50% of patients suffering from OA pain. However, opioids have various drawbacks given the addictive nature of this class of medicines.
Andrew I. Spitzer, M.D., Co-Director of the Joint Replacement Program at Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedic Center discusses unmet needs in OA.