Evidence-Based Recommendations on the Pharmacological Management of Osteoarthritis and Chronic Low Back Pain: An Asian Consensus. Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The overall burden of chronic musculoskeletal pain in Asian countries will continue to increase as the population ages, as will the demand for safe and effective pain management. Currently available Asian guidelines are mostly outdated and targeted only to primary care. Implementation of international guidelines may be unsuitable for Asian patients due to cultural, local economic and regulatory factors. With the aim of developing Asian-specifi c consensus recommendations for the pharmacological management of osteoarthritis (OA) pain and chronic low back pain (cLBP), we convened to review and discuss recent available evidence for pharmacotherapy, clinical experiences, and current practice challenges they face in the region, including challenges in opioid use. Taking these into consideration, we provided general recommendations for the overall assessment and management of OA pain and cLBP. The strength of the recommendations regarding the use of pharmacological agents was assessed using the Grades of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system. Where evidence is confl icting or limited, we made no recommendation pending the availability of further evidence. We recommend topical non-steroidal anti-infl ammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as a fi rst-line pharmacological treatment of OA pain, while oral NSAIDs should be considered as a fi rst-line pharmacological treatment of cLBP. Acetaminophen has been commonly used as the fi rst-line treatment for OA pain and cLBP, but its long-term use is not recommended based on recent evidence. These consensus recommendations are not prescriptive, and serve as a guide for decision-making in clinical practice. The optimal management of OA pain and cLBP should ultimately be individualized to each patient.


  • Yabuki, Shoji
  • Ip, Andrew Kit Kuen
  • Tam, Cheuk Kwan
  • Murakami, Takanori
  • Ushida, Takahiro
  • Wang, Joon Ho
  • Shin, Hun-Kyu
  • Sun, Wei-Zen
  • Williamson, Owen

publication date

  • June 1, 2019