There are a range of options available for patients suffering from osteoarthritis (OA) pain.
- OA pain management strategies include exercise, weight management, physical therapy and pharmacologic interventions.
- Current therapies for OA pain include over the counter medications, prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, intra-articular injections including steroids and hyaluronic acids, and surgery.
- 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.
- As the disease progresses, many patients receive intra-articular injections, including steroids and hyaluronic acids.
- All steroid therapies approved for intra-articular administration for OA are immediate-release suspensions or solutions that are absorbed systemically, which may result in undesirable side effects. Given the rapid absorption, these therapies leave the joint within hours to days providing relief on average for only 2-4 weeks.
- Hyaluronic acid preparations, which are classified as medical devices, have limited efficacy and are currently not recommended by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons for the non-operative management of OA of the knee.
- 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.
- While therapies exist to help people living with OA pain, there has been limited innovation in non-operative OA treatment strategies over the past decade. There remains an unmet need to help this patient population better manage their OA pain and other resulting symptoms and effects of the disease.
- At Flexion, our goal is to develop and market transformative, locally delivered medicines that provide safe and clinically meaningful therapy for patients with musculoskeletal disorders.
Andrew I. Spitzer, M.D., Co-Director of the Joint Replacement Program at Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedic Center, discusses the OA treatment landscape, addressing his approach to managing the condition and commonly prescribed medications.