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Strategy development and priority setting

The aim of the steering group is to develop a nationally agreed strategic plan for intervention research, and to support a portfolio of research aligned to that plan, that will be conducted in collaboration with the UK Comprehensive Clinical Research Network and industry.

While there has been a recent revolution in the management of inflammatory arthritis with the introduction of biologic therapies and early aggressive treatment, the same cannot be said of osteoarthritis (OA).

OA is the most prevalent form of arthritis, and unlike RA, it is on the rise, in an ageing and increasingly obese Western world. A recent study by Arthritis Care reported that 81% of people with OA experience constant pain and 72% have important co-morbidities, such as hypertension or depression. There are few very effective therapies.

Gout remains the commonest inflammatory arthritis in men but despite some effective therapies issues remain concerning diagnosis and optimal management.

What are the current research strategies for OA and gout?

The Osteoarthritis and Crystal Diseases Clinical Study Group has undertaken a survey of research priorities for OA and gout from a wide range of health professionals, including colleagues in the fields of obesity, orthotics and psychology. Read the strategy for identifying these research priorities. Read the strategy update for 2014 (PDF 7.89 KB)

Priority study questions

Final Osteoarthritis (non-surgical) priority research areas:

  • Analgesia: long-term effectiveness and optimal patterns
  • Orthotics and other non-surgical interventions to correct adverse biomechanics (e.g. footwear)
  • Packages of care; combinations of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments, self-management and the interface with professional care 
  • Predictors of selective response to treatment (targeting)
  • Management of OA in the very elderly (including polypharmacy)
  • Interventional studies that prevent or reduce the development or progression of OA
  • Novel and innovative therapeutic interventions that are not included in the broader priority list

Final Gout priority research areas:

  • In the long-term management of patients with gout, how effective are non-pharmacological interventions (education, dietary and lifestyle modification)?
  • When commencing urate-lowering therapy, is there a need for prophylaxis against acute attacks (with either colchicine or NSAID) if an escalating dose regimen of urate-lowering therapy, as recommended by EULAR and BSR, is used?
  • In the long-term management of patients with gout, what is the optimum therapeutic target, in terms of serum uric acid level, that will ensure crystal dissolution and eventual “cure” of gout?
  • In the management of acute gout, what is the efficacy and tolerability of lower dose regimens of colchicine (e.g. 0.5 mg 2-3 times daily) compared to either placebo or to traditional regimens (1 mg loading dose followed by frequent dosing)? 

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