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Launched the first SEMERGEN guidelines for the management of osteoarthritis. These clinical guidelines are largely directed at primary care physicians

7 Nov 2011

Osteoarthritis causes 35% of primary care visitsPrimary care physicians should play a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoarthritis in order to improve its symptoms (pain, functional disability) and to delay its progression

Issues involving the locomotor system rank among the three most frequent causes of primary care visits; 70 percent of these are caused by osteoarthritis. Moreover, this disease causes 15% of emergency department visits, especially by people between 60 to 69 years of age, with a women-to-men ratio of 3 to 1.

The above data was presented by Dr. Sergio Giménez Basallote at the “Osteoarthritis: evidences and challenges” symposium, which has been jointly hosted by the SEMERGEN and Bioiberica Farma. Dr. Giménez Basallote is a family doctor at the El Limonar Clinical Management Unit of the Malaga Health District, as well as co-ordinator of the locomotor system workgroup of the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (SEMERGEN).

“We are therefore facing a most common disease that puts a large drain on the resources of our primary healthcare system. Osteoarthritis is a chronic ailment that should be treated with long term, no undesirable effects, drugs; these drugs should not only improve pain but also act on the three-pronged etiologic mechanism of joint degradation. It has been already demonstrated that chondroprotector1 drugs operate on these three levels: they reduce pain, reduce inflammation and prevent the progression of osteoarthritis, which in turn leads to an improvement in the patients´ functional capability and quality of life. Chondroprotectors present an excellent level of security (only a 6% of minor secondary effects). No toxic effects have been reported since it was first introduced in 1982, and it is not necessary to use them in combination with stomach-protective drugs”, added Dr. Giménez Basallote.

Moreover, in regard to costs reduction (an issue that should be taken into account, especially in view of the current economic crisis), Dr. Giménez Basallote reminded us that “according to the VECTRA study, the average cost of a six-month treatment with chondroitin sulfate would be €141, whereas the cost of the same treatment using anti-inflammatory drugs would be €182. Therefore, the use chondroprotectors over a three-year period would mean a saving of 38 million euro, in addition of avoiding the by no means negligible figure of 2,600 gastrointestinal adverse effects”.

The clinical guidelines of the SEMERGEN for the treatment of Osteoarthritis
Dr. Giménez Basallote presented the first clinical guidelines for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the SEMERGEN before more than 200 family physicians with an interest in this disease. These guidelines aim at becoming the handbook of choice for family physicians. It explains in a simple but scientifically rigorous way all the latest novelties in relation to osteoarthritis, especially in regards to the etiophatogenesis and treatment of this disease.

To be more precise, the contents of the guidelines put the focus on the following aspects: definition of the disease; risk factors leading to the onset of osteoarthritis; key aspects of physical examination; diagnosis; non pharmacological measures; pharmacological treatment (the pros and cons of pain killers and anti inflammatory drugs); and chondroprotectors: drugs specifically designed to treat osteoarthritis).

The guidelines’ authors are Dr. Sergio Giménez Basallote, Family physician at the El Limonar Clinical management unit of the Malaga health district, and co-ordinator of the locomotor system workgroup of the SEMERGEN; Dr. Ingrid Möller, Rheumatologist, director of the Poal Institute of Rheumatology, Barcelona; Dr. Francisco Martínez García, family physician at the Bembibre Healthcare Center, Leon, and member of the Locomotor system workgroup of the SEMERGEN, and Dr. José Luís Casals Sánchez, Rheumatologist and family physician at the Hospital Marítimo of Torremolinos, Málaga, and member of the Locomotor system workgroup of the SEMERGEN.

According to Dr. Giménez Basallote, “a higher degreee of success in the management of osteoarthritis patients will only be reached by a better knowledge of the physiopathologic mechanisms of the disease and its symptoms. This must then be combined with the complementary explorations needed to reach a correct diagnosis, the joint work of physicians and patients in the management of the disease, and the implementation and efficacy assessment of the various therapeutic methods used to stop the diseases progression”.

For further information, please contact:
Alba Soler
Bioiberica Farma communications manager
+34 682 040 776 or +34 93 490 49 08

1 Chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate and hyaluronic acid, also known as SYSADOAs.