2019 revised algorithm for the management of knee osteoarthritis: the Southeast Asian viewpoint

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Aging Clinical and Experimental Research



Since 2014, the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (ESCEO) algorithm for the management of knee osteoarthritis (OA) is available worldwide.


Based on this document, a Southeast Asia Working Group (SEAWG) wished to see how the new ESCEO algorithm developed in 2019 was perceived by Southeast Asian experts and how it was integrated into their clinical practice.


A SEAWG was set up between members of the international ESCEO task force and a group of Southeast Asian experts.


Non-pharmacological management should always be combined with pharmacological management. In step 1, symptomatic slow-acting drugs for osteoarthritis are the main background therapy, for which high-quality evidence is available only for the formulations of patented crystalline glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate. In step 2, oral NSAIDs are a useful option, considering the cardiovascular/renal/gastrointestinal profiles of the individual patient. Intra-articular hyaluronic acid and corticosteroids are a possible alternative to oral NSAIDs, but limited evidence is available. If steps 1 and 2 do not give adequate relief of symptoms, tramadol can be used, but its safety is debated. In general, the indications of the ESCEO algorithm are important in Southeast Asian countries, but the reimbursement criteria of local health systems are an important aspect for adherence to the ESCEO algorithm.


This guidance provides evidence-based and easy-to-follow advice on how to establish a treatment algorithm in knee OA, for practical implementation in clinical practice in Southeast Asian countries.

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