Outcome evaluation

• At baseline, quantify the patient's pain using a visual analogue scale, assess range of motion of affected joints, and identify activities of daily living that are impaired.

• In patients treated with acetaminophen or oral NSAIDs, assess pain control after 2 to 3 weeks. It may take longer for the full anti-inflammatory effect of NSAIDs to occur.

• Incorporate other measures to track disease progress. Use radiography to assess severity of joint destruction, determine 50-ft walking time and grip strength, and administer the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) and the Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire, where appropriate, to assess activities of daily living.

• Ask patients if they are experiencing side effects or other problems with their medications and follow-up with more specific questions.

• In patients taking oral NSAIDs, monitor for increases in blood pressure, weight gain, edema, skin rash, and CNS adverse effects such as headaches and drowsiness.

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