This guidance updates and replaces NICE clinical guideline 59 (published February 2008). It offers evidence-based advice on the care of adults with osteoarthritis.
This guideline update was originally intended to include recommendations based on a review of new evidence about the use of paracetamol, etoricoxib and fixed-dose combinations of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) plus gastroprotective agents in the management of osteoarthritis. Draft recommendations based on the evidence reviews for these areas were presented in the consultation version of the guideline. Stakeholder feedback at consultation indicated that the draft recommendations, particularly in relation to paracetamol, would be of limited clinical application without a full review of evidence on the pharmacological management of osteoarthritis. NICE was also aware of an ongoing review by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) of the safety of over-the-counter analgesics. Therefore NICE intends to commission a full review of evidence on the pharmacological management of osteoarthritis, which will start once the MHRA's review is completed, to inform a further guideline update.
Until that update is published, the original recommendations (from 2008) on the pharmacological management of osteoarthritis remain current advice. However, the Guideline Development Group (GDG) would like to draw attention to the findings of the evidence review on the effectiveness of paracetamol that was presented in the consultation version of the guideline. That review identified reduced effectiveness of paracetamol in the management of osteoarthritis compared with what was previously thought. The GDG believes that this information should be taken into account in routine prescribing practice until the planned full review of evidence on the pharmacological management of osteoarthritis is published.