Over 500 million people worldwide suffer from osteoarthritis. In this condition, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with analgesic effects are traditionally used to treat pain. According to scientists from the University of California, San Francisco, their long-term consumption has an adverse effect on the progression of this disease.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, affecting millions of people around the world. It can affect any joint, but the hips, knees, and fingers are the most commonly affected. Everyone's disease progresses differently.
Effects of NSAIDs and osteoarthritis
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to treat joint pain in people with osteoarthritis. They provide relief in many cases, but according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, they can aggravate joint inflammation. Little is known about their long-term impact on disease progression at this time. This issue is still being debated by experts all over the world.
A panel of experts raised this issue at the Radiological Society of North America meeting (RSNA). Dr. hab. Johanna Luitjens of the University of California, San Francisco delivered the speech. She emphasized in her statement that "so far, no therapy has been approved that would cure or slow the progression of knee osteoarthritis."
The expert and her research team decided to conduct an investigation into the relationship between the use of NSAIDs and synovitis in osteoarthritic patients. Researchers wanted to see how NSAID treatment affects the development or progression of synovitis as well as cartilage imaging biomarkers.
The study included 277 people with moderate to severe osteoarthritis who had been taking NSAIDs for at least a year. The control group included 793 people who did not take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Each volunteer was subjected to magnetic resonance imaging at the start and end of the experiment (3T MRI). Researchers looked for biomarkers of inflammation in these images.
Unknown side effects of NSAID drugs have been discovered.
Based on the findings, it was determined that the use of NSAIDs in osteoarthritis provides no long-term benefit. Participants who took nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs fared significantly worse on arthritis and cartilage quality indices. They were pitted against a control group.
With this analysis, the researchers were able to show that there are no protective mechanisms of NSAIDs when it comes to reducing inflammation or slowing the progression of knee osteoarthritis. According to Dr. Luitjens, 'The use of NSAIDs for their anti-inflammatory effects has been frequently promoted in OA patients in recent years and should be reconsidered as a positive effect on arthritis could not be demonstrated.'
The expert believes that prospective randomized trials should be conducted in the near future to provide conclusive evidence of the anti-inflammatory effects of NSAIDs