Medical management of osteoarthritis of the knee and hip joints

Rebecca Grainger and Flavia M Cicuttini
Med J Aust 2004; 180 (5): 232-236.


  • Osteoarthritis is a common, chronic condition which requires an individualised management plan involving multiple kinds of treatment.

  • Exercise programs and the Arthritis Self-Management Program reduce pain and disability associated with osteoarthritis.

  • Paracetamol is the most appropriate first-line analgesic.

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be used as second-line analgesia on an as-needed basis (including continuous use), but must be used with caution. Cyclo-oxygenase-2-specific inhibitors are used if there are risk factors for upper-gastrointestinal complications, but only after considering cardiovascular risk.

  • Glucosamine sulfate is a safe and effective over-the-counter treatment.

  • Intra-articular therapies are used when others have failed.

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  • Rebecca Grainger1
  • Flavia M Cicuttini2

  • Department of Rheumatology, Alfred Hospital, Prahran, VIC.


Competing interests:

None identified.

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