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
When it comes to easing the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis (OA), the more weight loss, the better, according to researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In a study published recently online in Arthritis Care & Research, Stephen Messier, PhD, and colleagues report that overweight and obese adults aged 55 and older with knee OA who lost 20 percent or more of their body weight saw far greater improvements in pain, function, quality of life, inflammation and knee joint stress than those who lost less.
In an earlier trial, the same researchers found that a weight loss of 10 percent – the amount the National Institutes of Health recommends for overweight and obese adults – improved mobility and decreased pain by 50 percent over an 18-month period. In their latest findings, they say doubling weight loss can cut pain and improve function by another 25 percent.
Continue reading More Weight Loss Is Better for Knee OA
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
Studies have shown that racial minorities in the United States undergo fewer total knee replacements (TKR) for knee osteoarthritis (OA) than whites do, but the reasons for this are unclear. A new study sheds light on why fewer black Americans tend to have the surgery – and at what cost. It found that African-Americans are offered the option of TKR in fewer cases than whites are, they accept the option less frequently, and when they do undergo the procedure, they have higher rates of complications. Because of these factors, they lose a large number of what’s called “quality-adjusted life years” or QALYs.
Continue reading More African-Americans Could Benefit from Knee Replacement Surgery
People with hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) use oral pain medications more often than nondrug pain treatments, such as physical therapy, knee joint injections and topical creams, according to an analysis of three clinical trials. That’s in spite of guidelines that recommend trying nondrug treatments before medications.
The analysis, which appeared recently in Arthritis Care & Research, looked at trials conducted by researchers at Duke University, the Durham Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, all in North Carolina. A total of nearly 1,200 patients ages 61 to 65 participated in the three studies. All participants had knee or hip OA, and most were overweight and treated by a primary care doctor. None got the minimum 150 minutes of physical activity a week recommended for good health.
Continue reading Nondrug Pain Relief Underused for OA
A team of researchers from the United States and Finland has found that rates of knee osteoarthritis (OA) are higher now than in the past – probably not for the reasons you think.
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that knee OA is more than twice as common today, in the post-industrial era, as it was at any time before, going back to prehistoric days. People in the 21st century are also more likely to have arthritis in both knees than were people in the past.
Continue reading Knee OA More Common Now Than at Any Time in the Last 6,000 Years
Experts have long recommended tai chi as a low-impact workout that’s gentle on the joints. Research published in 2016 in Annals of Internal Medicine revealed additional benefits: It may be as effective as physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis (OA).
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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 diet high in fat, especially saturated fat, may speed up the progression of knee osteoarthritis (OA), whereas eating greater amounts unsaturated fat might slow it down, according to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Their study, published recently in Arthritis Care & Research, is one of the first to look at the effect of diet on the rate of OA progression. The researchers say they undertook the study because diet plays a role in the development of many chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, and they suspected it might also be involved in osteoarthritis.
Continue reading A Diet of Bad Fats May Hasten Knee OA Progression