Opioid use in Knee or Hip Osteoarthritis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Martin Englund MD PhD Department of Orthopaedics Lund University

Prof. Englund

Professor Martin Englund MD PhD
Department of Orthopaedics
Lund University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Currently, there is lack of knowledge of opioid usage in osteoarthritis patients. Opioids are typically not recommended for the treatment of osteoarthritis pain. 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: In Sweden every forth knee or hip osteoarthritis patient was prescribed an opioid over a 1-year period, and this was about twice the rate as in the background population without osteoarthritis.

Of all new opioid prescriptions in Sweden, about 12% were attributable to osteoarthritis, which is an alarmingly high proportion considering opioids are typically not recommended for the treatment of osteoarthritis pain.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: The first-in-line-treatment, i.e., information/education about osteoarthritis, weight management/weight loss (if applicable) and exercise therapy, should be considered first. Then e.g., other forms of pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs as add on.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: We are currently refining our analyses to more exactly detail the inappropriate use of opioids in osteoarthritis patients.

Also, the field is need of new drugs for osteoarthritis pain and preferably also disease-modifying drugs that truly alters the prognosis of patients’ joint deterioration. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: If other treatment alternatives do not provide sufficient pain relief, it is probably wise to consider joint replacement surgery instead of long term opioid usage. 


Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2019 Jun;27(6):871-877. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2019.01.005. Epub 2019 Jan 22.

Opioid use in knee or hip osteoarthritis: a region-wide population-based cohort study.

Thorlund JB 1, Turkiewicz A</2, Prieto-Alhambra D</3, Englund M<>4. 


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