Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are not effective treatments for hand or knee osteoarthritis (OA), according to a new meta-analysis. The drugs are commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other forms of inflammatory arthritis, but researchers in the United Kingdom (UK) found they were no better than placebo for OA pain. Their findings appeared in June 2018 in Rheumatology.
DMARDs aren’t pain medications. They’re meant to slow the disease and prevent further damage to joints and organs by suppressing inflammation. When DMARDs work, pain usually improves as inflammation gets under control.
Continue reading Disease-Modifying Drugs No Help for OA Pain
A new study takes a look at which approaches are best to bring relief to people with knee osteoarthritis (OA), a condition that affects approximately 20 percent of people over the age of 45 in the United States.
Knee OA can be extremely painful and limit a person’s ability to function. Although there is no cure, numerous treatments are available to reduce symptoms, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Exercising and losing weight if a patient is overweight or obese also can help. Total knee replacement surgery is effective but is done only in cases where the disease is advanced and it’s medically necessary.
So, which treatment is best? To help sort out the choices, a group of researchers set out to assess how the available non-surgical drug treatments stack up against each other for providing pain relief and improving physical function. The authors did not address lifestyle changes, like weight loss and exercise. The study was published recently in Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS).
Continue reading Study Ranks Treatments for Knee OA
If you have osteoarthritis (OA), you know all about joint pain and stiffness. One cause of these symptoms is the fact that hyaluronic acid (HA), a naturally occurring joint lubricant, breaks down in people with OA. To help alleviate the pain, your doctor might recommend treatment with hyaluronic acid injections – sometimes known as gel injections.
What are HA injections?
HA injections replace missing joint lubricant and are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the knees. However, some doctors may use the injections in shoulders and hips as well.
The treatments will most likely take place in your doctor’s office. The HA will be injected directly into the joint. The shots are usually given once a week for three to five weeks, depending on the brand used.
Continue reading Hyaluronic Acid for Osteoarthritis
A new study found that hydroxychloroquine, a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) sometimes used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus, does not reduce pain related to osteoarthritis (OA) of the hand, possibly ending the hope for an easy solution to a challenging problem.
Pain from hand OA affects an estimated 3 percent to 15 percent of adults over 60 and up to 31 percent of those over 70, making daily tasks difficult and diminishing quality of life. Increasing evidence suggests that low levels of inflammation may be an important source of pain in hand OA, at least in some people. Few medications are effective for hand OA other than traditional pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), acetaminophen and, in more intractable cases, opioids – all of which have side effects and can’t be used in certain populations. Researchers have been looking for other treatments.
Continue reading Anti-inflammatory Drug Doesn’t Help Hand OA
One of the benefits of modern medicine is the large selection of pain relievers available. The challenge is finding the right one at the right dose to reduce your osteoarthritis (OA) pain. With so many available, which is the most effective?
Continue reading Which OA Pain Reliever Works Best?
Chondroitin sulfate improves osteoarthritis (OA) knee pain and functional limitations in walking and daily activities as effectively as the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib (Celebrex), according to a new study published recently in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. But U.S. readers should know, there’s a catch: the researchers tested a version of chondroitin sulfate that is not available in this country.
Continue reading A New Study Finds Pharmaceutical Chondroitin Helps Knee OA Pain and Function
Losing excess weight may help preserve knee cartilage in people who have or are at risk of knee osteoarthritis (OA), according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), whose findings were recently published online in the journal Radiology. Knee cartilage is the rubbery, slick cap that covers the ends of the upper (femur) and lower (tibia) leg bones that make up the knee joint.
Their study also found that shedding extra pounds protected the menisci, the crescent-shaped cartilage pads that cushion the knee joint. Lead author Alexandra Gersing, MD, a postdoctoral scholar at UCSF School of Medicine, says this is especially important because a torn or damaged meniscus can speed up the degeneration of the knee joint overall.
Continue reading Study Confirms That Losing Weight May Save Your Knees
A relatively new treatment for knee osteoarthritis (OA) appears to reduce pain better than traditional corticosteroid injections, according to a study published recently in International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.
Continue reading New Pain Treatment for Knee Osteoarthritis Targets Nerves
For some people with knee osteoarthritis (OA), hyaluronic acid (HA) injections can relieve pain and improve function – sometimes dramatically. During the procedure, hyaluronic acid– a substance similar to the naturally occurring gel-like lubricant that is found in the synovial fluid surrounding joints – is injected into the knee. Because people with OA have a lower than normal concentration of hyaluronic acid in their joints, the theory is that adding the lubricant to the arthritic joint will reduce pain and help with movement.
But HA injections, also called viscosupplements, don’t work for everyone: Studies have shown that between 30 and 40 percent of patients who are given HA shots for knee OA don’t experience a reduction in pain or an improvement in function. And studies have not provided any insight into which patients are most or least likely to benefit from them.
Continue reading Study Supports Hyaluronic Acid Shots for Knee Osteoarthritis in Certain Patients
While the use of nutritional supplements for osteoarthritis (OA) has focused largely on the duo of glucosamine and chondroitin, research suggests that a popular supplement for heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis may also help OA – fish oil. Fish oil is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential fatty acids our body needs to function properly.
Most studies of the effectiveness of fish oil for osteoarthritis have been done on animals, but a few studies have also been done in humans.
Continue reading Does Fish Oil Fight Osteoarthritis?