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Osteoarthritis experts call for better coordination between various medical specialties, in order to improve patient care and reduce overall costs of the disease

17 May 2012
Healthcare

Experts defend the efficacy and security of using SYSADOAs as standard treatment for chronic osteoarthritisThey agree that chondroitin sulfate improves patient’s life quality, reduces adverse effects, protects from cartilage volume loss and reduces the need for prostatic surgery

Experts in osteoarthritis coming from several different medical
specialties have attended the symposium “osteoarthritis: a disease
affecting everyone”, held within the 38th Spanish National
Congress on Rheumatology. The objective of this meeting was to study new
approaches to this chronic inflammatory disease that affects more than
seven million Spaniards. The symposium was attended by rheumatology,
trauma, familial medicine and clinical pharmacology specialists. “All of
them are involved in osteoarthritis management. However, they do not
always work in a coordinated way. If we are to improve patient care,
avoid duplication of efforts, find common criteria and reduce overall
cost of disease treatment”, said Dr. Eduardo Úcar, president of the Spanish Society of Rheumatology and moderator of the symposium.

“Almost all osteoarthritis patients are treated by primary care physicians-therefore, we are the ones who know them better,” Dr. Sergio Giménez, familial physician and coordinator of the Locomotive apparatus workgroup of the SEMERGEN. He says also that: “more
than half of the cases we see in our consultations have a high
gastrointestinal or cardiovascular risk. Despite of that, there is still
among many physicians the inertia of prescribing paracetamol or AINEs
without taking into account that these drugs should be used only during
acute stages of the disease, and that they cannot be administered on a
regular basis because of its many secondary effects
”.

Dr. Antonio García,
Professor of Pharmacology and Director of the Teófilo Hernando
Institute for drug R&D, believes that this situation must change
before “now we have the so called SYSADOAs drugs, such as chondroitin
sulfate, that have been specifically designed for the treatment of
chronic osteoarthritis, and that have proven levels of security and
efficacy. Authorities must be made aware of this fact”. According to
Professor Garcia, these drugs improve the patients’ overall quality of
life, pain and functional mobility, thus reducing the overall cost of
the disease.

In this regard, Dr. Jordi Monfort,
rheumatologist at the Hospital del Mar (Barcelona) added that “SYSADOAs
are, as of today, the standard treatment of choice for that disease,
especially during its early stages”. He also explained that the main
factors contributing to osteoarthritis progression are subchondral bone
damage and synovitis, and that recent clinical tests have proved that
chondroitin sulfate reduces inflammation of the synovial membrane. “If
we take into account that 50 to 70% of osteoarthritis patients suffer
also from synovitis, we can get an idea of the relevance of this
clinical finding and its impact in future therapies”, he declared.

The last to speak was Dr. Jordi Ardèvol,
orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine. Dr. Ardèvol
defended the need of “referring to the orthopedic surgeon patients at
higher risk of rapidly progressive osteoarthritis” as early as possible.
He also cited the clinical essay by Professor Pelletier which was read
at the World Congress on Osteoathritis, confirming that chondroitin
sulfate protects from cartilage volume loss and reduces the need for
prosthetic surgery in knee osteoarthritis/synovitis patients.

Pictures of the symposium can be found at www.comunicacionbioibericafarma.es