New Arthritis Drug Offers Hope

by Malc on September 28, 2011

New Arthritis Drug Offers Hope

New Arthritis Drug Offers Hope (Wikipedia Image)

New potential benefits for arthritis from an existing osteoporosis drug have been identified following a study carried out on mice. The drug was shown to thicken cartilage by over 30% – a good first result.

This new use for it was identified by US researchers, working with mice. There is no evidence as yet that the same thing will happen in humans.

Cartilage erosion is one of the big problems with osteoarthritis so being able to build it would be valuable, if it was true. This is what supplements such as shark cartilage and glucosamine sulphate aim to do.

Drug treatment is bound to entail the risk of side-effects, as usual. But if a mechanism has been identified which promotes the regrowth cartilage this might inform the production of other treatments in the future. And if you found no help from more natural supplements, it would be one more avenue to consider if the initial results are confirmed to work in humans.

The drug is called Forsteo in the UK (generic name teriparatide), and works by influencing the hormone system which creates cartilage.

Drug companies are often looking to extend the existing uses of drug into other areas. Discovering a new use for an existing drug is always cheaper than starting from scratch.

The drug costs around £10 ($16) a day, but compared to the cost of joint replacement that is cheap.

This is the first drug treatment which has shown potential benefits for the cartilage in the joint. Currently, the standard – pre-joint-replacement treatment for severe arthritis is the use of steroid drugs which are intended just to mask the pain.

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