This page contains resources that have been developed by NZRA members.

On this page are materials for those prescribing Benzbromarone in the management of gout, NZRA position statements on use of colchicine and on intra-articular and soft tissue injections and our DAS28 instructional video.

Research with the New Zealand Rheumatology Association


An objective of the NZRA is to encourage research in rheumatic diseases.

If researchers wish to partner with the NZRA in rheumatology research, please contact Chair of the NZRA Grant Committee for further information:

For research that involves surveying NZRA members, the following information is required:

  1. Contact details of study Principal Investigator
  2. Lay summary of study
  3. Documentation of ethical approval
  4. At the end of the study, a study report should be sent to the NZRA secretary for dissemination to the NZRA membership.


For research that involves recruitment of patients through NZRA members, the following information is required:

  1. Contact details of study Principal Investigator
  2. Lay summary of study
  3. Documentation of ethical approval by a New Zealand ethics committee
  4. Confirmation that all locality and other regulatory approvals will be obtained prior to study initiation at each study site in New Zealand
  5. At the end of the study, a study report should be sent to the NZRA secretary for dissemination to the NZRA membership.

Benzbromarone Information

Information has been produced for prescribers of Benzbromarone. This is available here.

Information for patients is available here.

NZRA Position Statement on Stem Cell Therapies for Arthritis Management

The NZRA is currently working with the Australian Rheumatology Association and Canadian Rheumatology Association on a joint position statement on stem cell therapies for arthritis management. 

The current Australian Rheumatology Association Position Statement on Stem Cell Therapies is available here

The current Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Position Paper on Stem Cell Therapy is available here.

NZRA Position Statement on Colchicine

In most patients, non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids are the treatment of choice for acute gout. When NSAIDs are contraindicated and corticosteroids are not providing an adequate response, colchicine is an option, particularly if taken within the first 24 hours of the onset of pain [1]. The use of large doses of colchicine to treat acute gout is no longer appropriate, especially in older patients, because of the serious adverse effects arising from large doses. The recommended dose for colchicine in the treatment of acute gout is 1.0mg stat, followed by 0.5mg six hourly, up to a maximum dose of 2.5mg per 24 hours. Corticosteroids can be used in combination with NSAIDs or colchicine to provide further relief. Colchicine can also be used prophylactically in the treatment of gout with a dose ranging from 0.5mg ever other day to 0.5mg twice daily, just short of that which will induce diarrhoea or soft stool in the patient [2].


1. Morris I, Varughese G, Mattingly P. Colchicine in acute gout. BMJ 2003; 327: 1275-1276.
2. Calkins E. The Geriatric Age Group. In: Isenberg DA, Maddison PJ, Woo P, Glass D, Breedveld FC (Eds). Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology. Oxford University Press, 2004: 32.
3. Gow P. Gout – An Update on a Deadly Disease. NZ Pharmacy Journal: 2005; 25; 4: 21-24, see treatment algorithm.

November 2005, New Zealand Rheumatology Association

NZRA Position Statement on intra-articular and Soft Tissue Injections

AIM: The purpose of this statement is to comment on current standard practice of intra-articular and soft-tissue steroid injections performed by Rheumatologists in New Zealand.

Intra-articular and soft tissue steroid injections will be referred to as “injections” in this statement.

Injections are used frequently by Rheumatologists to assist with management of a number of musculoskeletal conditions. Injections can be effective in controlling symptoms in many conditions and have a low risk of complications including infection [1]. Joint aspiration is also an important procedure for diagnostic purposes for example infection, haemarthrosis and crystal arthritis.

Injections and joint aspiration are performed as a standard out patient office based procedure by Rheumatologists.

Rheumatologists are trained to perform injections during Physician training and particularly during their advanced training. In Rheumatology [2], a “no touch”, “clean” or “aseptic” technique is used widely in New Zealand, Australia and internationally, however no standard definition currently exists [1,3]. Hand preparation with hand washing or use of alcohol, and skin preparation with alcohol appears to be effective preparation for most procedures [1,3].

Use of full surgical gowning, gloves and draping is not standard procedure for injections and would add significant costs to this procedure with no improved outcome for the patient [1,3]. Delays or deferral of injections by such full surgical procedure may result in an adverse outcome for the patient.

Use of sterile equipment is essential [1]. Gloves should be worn to protect the operator from coming into contact with body fluids, if at risk, and need not be sterile if a “no touch” technique is utilised [1,3].

Joint infection after injection is extremely rare and comparable to the rate of sepsis after venipuncture [1]. The current literature does not identify any difference in infection risk in a “clean” technique compared with sterile technique [3].


The New Zealand Rheumatology Association (NZRA) recognises that injections are important in the management of musculoskeletal conditions including diagnosis and treatment. The NZRA note that informed verbal consent is integral to this treatment. The risks of complications with injection are low. A “no touch” technique is essential. Full surgical sterile procedure is unnecessary.


  1. Courtney, P. and M. Doherty, Joint aspiration and injection and synovial fluid analysis. Best practice & research. Clinical rheumatology, 2009. 23(2): p. 161-192.
  2. PREP Advanced Training Program (2009) Royal Australian College of Physicians webpage Accessed June 7th 2011 from
  3. Baima, J. and Z. Isaac, Clean versus sterile technique for common joint injections: a review from the physiatry perspective. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine, 2008. 1(2): p. 88-91



The NZRA gratefully acknowledges The Australian Rheumatology Association for granting permission for use of the ARA Position Statement on Intra-articular injections and soft tissue injections, on which this Position Statement is based.

Dr Terry Macedo
Dr Simon Stebbings

DAS28 Joint Examination Video

The DAS 28 Joint Count Video can be accessed here.