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.