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New Drug For Knee Osteoarthritis Sufferers: May Slow Progression

Health Studies in the News

A new study suggests that there may be a great benefit of a new drug to knee osteoarthritis sufferers. The study was presented at the 2012 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals and titled “Strontium Ranelate in Knee Osteoarthritis Trial (SEKOIA): A Structural and Symptomatic Efficacy”. The principal investigator was Jean-Yves Reginster, MD, from the University of Liege, in Liege, Belgium.

The study looked at 1,371 individuals with knee osteoarthritis in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The testing was on a new medication, called stontium ranelate. This drug has been shown to reduce radiographic spinal osteoarthritis in women with spinal osteoarthritis. It has also been shown to stimulate the formation of the cartilage matrix in vitro.

The researchers looks at two doses of strontium ranelate- 1 gram, and 2 grams per day. They also tested this against a placebo. The participants were followed for three years to collect data on the study.

The results were that the patients who took the strontium ranelate had less cartilage degradation. The measurements for one year out had, “a decrease in joint space width of 0.23 mm with 1g/day (n = 445), 0.27 mm with 2g/day (n = 454), and -0.37 mm with placebo (n = 472).”

Dr. Reginster commented, saying, “At 1 year, the joint space was 0.14 mm wider in the group that got 1g/day (P <.001) and 0.10 mm (P =.018) in the group that received 2 g/day, compared with the placebo group. “There was no significant difference between dose.”

The number differences are small, but they add up to a big change in patient comfort. Dr. Reginster spoke about the results, saying, “What’s really important is that people who lose 0.5 mm in joint space width have a sizeable increase in the risk of surgery within 5 years. What we saw in this study is the 30% to 40% fewer patients taking strontium ranelate reached this threshold compared with placebo.”

Sources: PSL Group, Web MD

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