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Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by deterioration of the joints and associated with considerable pain and disability. OA is a chronic disease that requires intervention with both non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatment modalities and, inevitably, disease progression may necessitate successive treatments throughout the course of the disease. There is increasing data on the shortfalls of current pharmacological treatment of OA, and safety concerns associated with analgesic therapy use in OA arising from increasing evidence of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, hepatic and renal adverse events with paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Consequently, symptomatic slow-acting drugs for OA (SYSADOAs) may now be considered as a first-line treatment for knee OA, with a particular emphasis placed on the outstanding benefit: risk ratio of pharmaceutical-grade glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate formulations. In this short communication we review recent publications concerned with the safety of paracetamol, NSAIDs and SYSADOAs. Greater understanding of the benefits and limitations of current medications will lead to better disease management in OA. Furthermore, adherence to guideline recommendations across Europe and internationally, such as those from the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (ESCEO), will promote evidence-based medicine and patient-centric care, ultimately leading to greater physician and patient satisfaction.

Original publication




Journal article


Rheumatol int

Publication Date



NSAID, Osteoarthritis, Paracetamol, SYSADOA, Safety