Arthritis is a major burden on society and the individual. Arthritis affects all age groups and races, and is more prevalent in women than men by approximately 1.65:1. Nearly one half of people aged > or = 65 years report the presence of arthritic symptoms; however, by no means is arthritis a disease of only the elderly. The burden of arthritis will continue to increase due to expected future increases in the size and age of the general population. Currently, the total costs of medical care and lost wages due to arthritis are in excess of 64 billion dollars per year in the United States. For the individual, arthritis may cause substantial pain, impair mobility, curtail physical activity, and have a negative impact on mental health. The two most common forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, have major health complications. From the perspective of the orthopedic surgeon, the aim of treatment of arthritic conditions includes early, accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment to minimize pain and maximize function. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are frequently used as part of the medical management of patients with arthritis. These medications are effective in mitigating pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. However, side effects (most notably of the gastrointestinal tract) have limited the more widespread use of NSAIDs. The newer cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors have proven to be efficacious and have demonstrated fewer gastrointestinal adverse effects. Furthermore, COX-2 inhibitors do not appear to adversely affect platelet function. For these reasons, consideration may be given to using COX-2 perioperatively, however, drug interactions must be closely monitored.
View details for PubMedID 10914696