Comparative efficacy of exercise therapy and oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and paracetamol for knee or hip osteoarthritis: a network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

Review written by Todd Hargrove info

Key Points

  1. Exercise was superior to usual care in the treatment of knee or hip osteoarthritis at four weeks, eight weeks, and twenty-four weeks.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Exercise is recommended as a treatment for knee and hip osteoarthritis (OA), because it has been shown to reduce pain and improve function. However, it is unknown how exercise compares to oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or paracetamol as a treatment. There are several RCTs that directly compare these treatments, but the results are conflicting.

This study indirectly compared the effects of exercise to oral NSAIDs and paracetamol for treatment of knee and hip OA by conducting a network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs).

It is unknown how exercise compares to NSAIDS or paracetamol as a treatment for knee and hip OA.
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This provides further evidence that exercise should be the core therapy in the treatment of knee and hip OA.

METHODS

There are numerous RCTS that examine the effects of exercise, oral NSAIDs or paracetamol on knee and hip OA. However, only four of these have made direct head-to-head comparisons between these treatments, and their results are conflicting.

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