Old drug can offer new treatment for hand pain in osteoarthritis

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Experiencing hand pain that complicates simple activities like buttoning a shirt or opening a jar might be a sign of hand osteoarthritis (OA), a condition affecting the joints in the hands.

This form of osteoarthritis can significantly impact daily life, causing pain and stiffness that make movement difficult.

By the age of 85, about half of all women and a quarter of all men will have experienced symptoms of hand OA, though it can start affecting people much earlier.

Traditionally, managing the pain from hand OA has been challenging. However, recent research conducted by Monash University and Alfred Health offers new hope.

They’ve been investigating the use of methotrexate—a drug well-known since the 1980s for treating rheumatoid arthritis—for hand OA.

Led by Professor Flavia Cicuttini, a leading joint researcher, the study explored whether methotrexate could provide relief for those suffering from hand OA. Participants in the study received a 20mg dose of methotrexate weekly for six months.

The results were encouraging: those on methotrexate reported significantly less pain and stiffness compared to those who received a placebo—a substance with no therapeutic effect.

Notably, the improvement in symptoms was not just temporary but continued to progress throughout the study.

This research opens the door to potentially extended applications of methotrexate, including how long it can effectively relieve pain, the best ways to administer it, and whether it can also reduce the joint damage typically caused by OA over time.

This is particularly significant for women, who are more likely to develop hand OA around menopause.

The findings from this study, published in The Lancet, represent a significant step forward in the treatment of osteoarthritis and offer new hope for those suffering from the condition.

As the research continues, it holds the promise of making effective pain management more accessible to those affected by hand OA.

Beyond hand OA, recent studies have also highlighted other important health issues, such as the role of vitamin K in the health of older adults, how certain snack foods might influence heart rhythm, and the protective effects of specific vitamins against type 2 diabetes.

These insights are crucial for broadening our understanding of health and disease as we continue to seek ways to improve life quality for all individuals.

If you care about pain, please read studies about how to manage your back pain, and Krill oil could improve muscle health in older people.

For more information about pain, please see recent studies about how to live pain-free with arthritis, and results showing common native American plant may help reduce diarrhea and pain.

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