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Surprising New Treatment Beats Arthritis Pain

Surprising New Treatment Beats Arthritis Pain
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By    |   Friday, 29 September 2017 01:05 PM

A drug used to treat lameness in horses has been found to have an enormous ability to beat osteoarthritis pain in humans.

The substance, administered to patients by injection, has been hailed in Australia – where its use against osteoarthritis was pioneered – as the first blockbuster drug since anti-cholesterol pills.

It also has the potential to delay or completely eliminate the need for osteoarthritis-related hip and knee replacements, experts say.

More than 27 million Americans are affected by osteoarthritis - a degenerative disease that is the most common form of arthritis. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 50 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis.

It is caused by a breakdown of cartilage – the tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint.

“Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another, and it absorbs energy from the shock of physical movement,” the NIH notes. “In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. This results in bones under the cartilage rubbing together – causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Bone spurs develop, permanently changing the joint’s shape.”

The new therapy is expected to be available worldwide within the next three years, after additional tests confirm most effective doses and required regulatory approvals are given, experts say.

The drug is pentosan polysulfate sodium (known in medical circles as PPS) and its use in human osteoarthritis sufferers was spearheaded by a team led by the University of Sydney’s Dr. Peter Ghosh, a professor in the school’s medical faculty.

Co-researcher Dr. Jegan Krishnan – an orthopedic surgeon who is also a professor of medicine at Flinders University in Adelaide – says small trials of the drug involving human patients have proved highly successful. Further larger-scale trials are scheduled to start before year’s end.

According to Krishnan, PPS eliminates pain associated with the disease by acting on bone marrow lesions that cause pain and cartilage degeneration.

“By controlling lesions you reduce the symptoms of the pain,” says Krishnan.

Ghosh says PPS has been successfully used for 70 years to treat urinary infections in women. But its main use is as a treatment for osteoarthritis in horses where it is highly effective.

A peer-reviewed case study of one Australian patient has been accepted for publication in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. The patient said her pain level when from a rating of eight, on a scale of one to 10, to zero after she was given six PPS injections over a three-week period.

Testing of the drug on humans has initially been on patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Researchers, hope, however, that it may work as well in beating pain in other parts of the body.

Dr. Flavia Cicuttini – an osteoarthritis expert at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, who as not involved in the research – called the latest research promising.

“If this drug works, even if it just slows the progress, you could change the pattern of the disease,” she told Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph.

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A drug primarily used to treat lameness in horses has been found to have an enormous ability to beat osteoarthritis pain in humans. Australian researchers say early studies of the drug suggest it could be a game changer in the treatment of the painful condition.
new, arthritis, treatment, pain
Friday, 29 September 2017 01:05 PM
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