Racial and ethnic differences in the pharmacologic management of osteoarthritis: rapid systematic review

Ernest R. Vina, Philip H. Tsoukas, Shahrzad Abdollahi, Nidhi Mody, Stephanie C. Roth, Albert H. Redford, C. Kent Kwoh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Racial and ethnic disparities in osteoarthritis (OA) patients’ disease experience may be related to marked differences in the utilization and prescription of pharmacologic treatments. Objectives: The main objective of this rapid systematic review was to evaluate studies that examined race/ethnic differences in the use of pharmacologic treatments for OA. Data sources and methods: A literature search (PubMed and Embase) was ran on 25 February 2022. Studies that evaluated race/ethnic differences in the use of OA pharmacologic treatments were included. Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts and abstracted data from full-text articles. Preferred Reporting Items of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed. Results: The search yielded 3880 titles, and 17 studies were included in this review. African Americans and Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to use prescription non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for OA. However, compared to non-Hispanic Whites with OA, African Americans and Hispanics with OA were less likely to receive a prescription for cyclooxygenase-2-selective NSAIDs and less likely to report the use of joint health supplements (i.e. glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate). There were minimal/no significant race/ethnic differences in the patient-reported use of the following OA therapies: acetaminophen, opioids, and other complementary/alternative medicines (vitamins, minerals, and herbs). There were also no significant race differences in the receipt of intra-articular therapies (i.e. glucocorticoid or hyaluronic acid). However, there is limited evidence to suggest that African Americans may be less likely than Whites to receive opioids and intra-articular therapies in some OA patient populations. Conclusion: This systematic review provides an overview of the current pharmacologic options for OA, with a focus on race and ethnic differences in the use of such medical therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease
StatePublished - 2022


  • African Americans
  • Hispanics
  • ethnicity
  • medications
  • osteoarthritis
  • race
  • utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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