Bisphosphonates could offer effective pain relief in osteoarthritis, research finds

September 6, 2013

St George's, University of London research has found that a drug normally given to osteoporosis sufferers could provide effective pain relief to patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis.

Bisphosphonates are a group of drugs known to change the structure of bone and are most often prescribed to patients with osteoporosis, a condition characterised by .

It is unknown, however, whether these drugs could be used to reduce pain and discomfort for patients with the joint condition , which causes , bony growths and sore tissue.

The researchers used existing studies to assess the effectiveness of a variety of bisphosphonates in patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the hand, knee, spine and hips.

Of 3832 patients studied, in most cases these drugs showed limited pain relief. However, a few studies did show benefit; the bisphosphonate alendronate was found to be more effective for patients with hip osteoarthritis than existing pain relieving drugs. Moreover, the use of zoledronate and alendronate, specific forms of bisphosphonates, improved pain in patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis at six months —but longer term studies are needed.

Dr Nidhi Sofat, lead researcher, said:

"Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis worldwide. It causes damage to bone and cartilage in the joints of affected people. Most treatment is focused around , as no robust treatments have been discovered that slow down the progression of the disease.

"Our study looked at whether there were any that have been shown to influence pain and/or that could be used in osteoarthritis treatment.

"We found that, generally, bisphosphonates are ineffective at managing pain associated with osteoarthritis. But zoledronate and alendronate, which are specific forms of , do show the potential for effective pain management specifically in patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis.

"More research needs to be carried out to determine which patients could benefit most from this type of intervention. Osteoarthritis is a long term chronic condition, so it's essential that we work to understand whether the use of these medicines in the long term could be tolerated."

The research is published in full in the PLOS ONE journal.

Explore further: Lateral wedge insoles not associated with improvement of knee pain in osteoarthritis

More information: Davis, A. et al. (2013), Are Bisphosphonates Effective in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis Pain? A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review, Plos One. www.plosone.org/article/info%3 … journal.pone.0072714

Related Stories

Lateral wedge insoles not associated with improvement of knee pain in osteoarthritis

August 20, 2013
Although a pooling of data from 12 studies showed a statistically significant association between use of lateral wedge insoles and lower pain in medial knee osteoarthritis, among trials comparing wedge insoles with neutral ...

Acupuncture can be considered as one of the physical therapies for relieving osteoarthritis knee pain

August 30, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—A new systematic review by academics at the University of York suggests that acupuncture is at least as effective as other physical therapies for short-term relief from the pain of osteoarthritis of the ...

Not all patients benefit equally from hip or knee replacement, study finds

April 4, 2013
Only half of people with arthritis who had a hip or knee replacement reported a significant improvement in pain and mobility after surgery, according to a new study led by Women's College Hospital and the Institute for Clinical ...

Osteoarthritis improved by extra physiotherapy programmes

July 24, 2013
Aanual physiotherapy or regular exercise programmes make a significant difference for people with painful osteoarthritis in the knee and hip joints, and are cost-effective, new research from the University of Otago shows.

UAB to study link between sleep and pain in knee osteoarthritis

July 16, 2013
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) want to know more about the relationship between sleep and pain.

Broccoli could be key in the fight against osteoarthritis

August 27, 2013
A compound found in broccoli could be key to preventing or slowing the progress of the most common form of arthritis, according to new research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Recommended for you

Fluid in the knee holds clues for why osteoarthritis is more common in females

June 26, 2017
Researchers have more evidence that males and females are different, this time in the fluid that helps protect the cartilage in their knee joints.

Biologics before triple therapy not cost effective for rheumatoid arthritis

May 29, 2017
Stepping up to biologic therapy when methotrexate monotherapy fails offers minimal incremental benefit over using a combination of drugs known as triple therapy, yet incurs large costs for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). ...

Drug for refractory psoriatic arthritis shows promise in clinical trial

May 24, 2017
In a pivotal phase-3 clinical trial led by a Stanford University School of Medicine investigator, patients with psoriatic arthritis for whom standard-of-care pharmaceutical treatments have provided no lasting relief experienced ...

Cross-species links identified for osteoarthritis

May 17, 2017
New research from the University of Liverpool, published today in the journal npj Systems Biology and Applications, has identified 'cell messages' that could help identify the early stages of osteoarthritis (OA).

Osteoarthritis could be prevented with good diet and exercise

May 12, 2017
Osteoarthritis can potentially be prevented with a good diet and regular exercise, a new expert review published in the Nature Reviews Rheumatology reports.

Rodents with trouble walking reveal potential treatment approach for most common joint disease

May 11, 2017
Maintaining the supply of a molecule that helps to nourish cartilage prevented osteoarthritis in animal models of the disease, according to a report published in Nature Communications online May 11.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.