Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

My clinician says they are not able to prescribe

If you are being treated by a healthcare professional, such as a physiotherapist, many of them do not have the ability to write an NHS prescription for you. However, these people are able to contact your GP and ask them to write your prescription. We can support them to do this, if required.

My clinician says they are not on the CCG’s Formulary

NHS services are managed across the country in a series of areas called Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). Each CCG manages the prescribing in their area, and issues lists of drugs and devices they want healthcare professionals to use. While helpful, these formularies are not exclusive. Healthcare professionals can prescribe any product list on the Drug Tariff (as the OA Reaction Web and Clima-Flex OA are), even when they are not on formulary, and they will need to have a valid clinical reason for doing so and to justify the cost (see note below). In fact as many as 1 in 5 products prescribed across the country may be “non-formulary”.

My clinician says they are too expensive

While a GP may consider the price to be more expensive to some simple pain medications, a 2017 UK study demonstrated that unloading knee braces are cost-effective method and long-term use can delay and reduce surgical intervention. Some patients will be prescribed opioid medications, which cost hundreds of pounds a year, and can have their own risks, particularly for older people.

Studies have provided evidence that if patients wear unloading knee brace for more than 2 years, surgical intervention is not needed.1 Every knee replacement operation costs the NHS many thousands in surgery and post-surgical rehabilitation, as well as adding to the strain on NHS waiting lists.

My clinician isn’t familiar with the OA Reaction Web/Clima-Flex OA

While your clinician may not have seen these braces before, they are listed on the UK Drug Tariff and are available on prescription. Orthopaedic appliances like knee braces are relatively new to the Drug Tariff, so knowledge of them is still growing. The OA Reaction Web and Clima-Flex OA offer a new way of managing knee pain and instability without the use of medication.

The UK’s NICE Guidelines are evidence-based recommendations laid down for all for all healthcare professionals to follow. The current NICE Guidelines for Osteoarthritis Care and Management say:

“People with osteoarthritis who have biomechanical joint pain or instability should be considered for assessment for bracing/joint supports/insoles as an adjunct to their core treatments.”2

References

  1. Lee PYF, Winfield TG, Harris SRS, et al. Unloading knee brace is a cost-effective method to bridge and delay surgery in unicompartmental knee arthritis. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med 2017;2:e000195.doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2016-000195
  2. www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg177