Can methotrexate be used for osteoarthritis… the answer next…
New study to evaluate methotrexate for osteoarthritis
Jo Willey writing in the Express reported on a study in the United Kingdom. Scientists are launching a nationwide trial on how effectively the drug methotrexate relieves the agony of osteoarthritis in the knees.
It is already prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, a different condition. After a successful pilot trial, it is hoped methotrexate could also ease pain significantly for the UK’s six million osteoarthritis sufferers.
In the pilot, 37 per cent of patients with knee osteoarthritis had a 40 per cent reduction in discomfort.
Leader of the research, Professor Philip Conaghan from the University of Leeds, said: “Current drug treatments have significant side-effects and are not suitable for many people.
“As a result, people often live with severe pain and have significant difficulty in carrying out normal day-to-day activities. There is, therefore, an urgent need to find new and better ways of managing their pain.” Prof Conaghan, of the Leeds Institute of Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Medicine, will run the 15-centre clinical trial from early next year on up to 160 people whose osteoarthritis is not helped by treatments such as painkillers.
He said: “Methotrexate (MTX) is very good at reducing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation is also very common in osteoarthritis, though it is caused by a different mechanism.
“We think treating inflammation should reduce pain. We hope MTX will reduce pain and stiffness. Although it’s less likely to stop joint destruction, we will perform MRI scans to see if we have altered structure.
Comment: Methotrexate often is useful for inflammatory erosive osteoarthritis so the results of this study will be valuable.