Research finds ways to curb osteoarthritis pandemic

January 25, 2022 (Vancouver) – New Research points to three interventions to reduce the health burden of osteoarthritis in Canada.

These interventions include improved pharmacological treatment of osteoarthritis-related pain, improved access to joint replacement surgery and prevention of the disease by reducing obesity.

“We have demonstrated that reductions in osteoarthritis burden can be achieved through these three approaches,” said Dr. Jacek Kopec, a senior scientist at Arthritis research Canada. “We have also shown how burden reduction depends on the magnitude of each intervention and the time period for assessing impact.”

Medical interventions involving a targeted increase in the use of painkillers tended to produce effects quickly and were, therefore, most effective over a short time period. Surgical interventions, primarily increased access to joint replacement surgery, were most effective over a medium time period (two decades or longer). Preventive interventions required a substantial change in body mass index (BMI) to generate a significant impact, but produced more reduction in disability-adjusted life years than treatment strategies over a very long time period (several decades).

Arthritis costs the Canadian economy an estimated $33 billion per year in lost productivity and health care costs. Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease and a massive public health problem in Canada and around the world. In fact, it is estimated that by 2040, 12 million Canadians will be living with this debilitating disease.

“This research reveals effective strategies to reduce the burden of osteoarthritis and is an important step towards helping policymakers implement cost-effective changes and improve care for patients,” Kopec said.

To learn more about this research, please click here.


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Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific director, Dr. Diane Lacaille is leading a team of over 100 researchers, trainees and staff whose world recognized research is creating a future where people living with arthritis are empowered to triumph over pain and disability. Arthritis Research Canada is conducting research across Canada in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec and is affiliated with five major universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Université Laval, and McGill University. Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at arthritis prevention, early diagnosis, new and better treatment, and improved quality of life.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Heather Caulder
Marketing and Communications Officer
604-207-4010 or hcaulder@arthritisresearch.ca

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