Drugs & Aging

, Volume 29, Issue 7, pp 523–531 | Cite as

Evolution of Topical NSAIDs in the Guidelines for Treatment of Osteoarthritis in Elderly Patients

Current Opinion


Increasing age is the primary predictor of osteoarthritis, the most prevalent painful condition in the US. Because there are no disease-modifying therapies for osteoarthritis, relief of symptoms and maintenance of quality of life through improving joint function become the focus of management. Although highly effective for pain relief, oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are associated with systemic adverse reactions that are sometimes treatment limiting, especially for older patients. Thus, osteoarthritis management in elderly populations is shifting away from traditional NSAIDs to therapies that provide comparable pain relief with improved safety. Since the approval by the US Food and Drug Administration of the use of topical NSAIDs to manage osteoarthritis pain, current treatment guidelines put forth by several professional societies have begun to recommend topical NSAIDs as an alternative therapy and, most recently, as first-line therapy for osteoarthritis management in the elderly. This review provides an overview of the various treatment guidelines that are available to assist prescribers in making safe and effective decisions in the treatment of osteoarthritis in this high-risk patient population.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Nurse Specialist for Pain ReliefMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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