We Know: Arthritis Treatments: Fast Facts
Do you suffer from osteoarthritis? Wondering what the newest treatments are and if they can help you?
We asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to tell us about the new, recently approved treatments.
What is osteoarthritis?
In general, arthritis refers to a group of more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the body’s joints. Osteoarthritis, also know as ‘degenerative joint disease’ results from the wear and tear of every day life (the other major kind of arthritis is called rheumatoid arthritis and is a chronic autoimmune disease).
Who gets osteoarthritis?
About 21 million people are affected by osteoarthritis, and your risk of getting it increases with age, joint trauma, obesity and repetitive joint use.
What’s new in treating osteoarthritis?
In the recent past, osteoarthritis has been treated with nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, these drugs tended to cause gastrointestinal bleeding or ulcers.
A new class of nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs has now been approved by the FDA that appears to produce less stomach irritation and is just as effective in treating osteoarthritis.
Tell me about these new drugs...
The first of these drugs was approved in 1998 and is called Celebrex. It is used to treat both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Another, approved in 1999, is Vioxx, which is used to treat osteoarthritis. Vioxx was recently withdrawn from the U.S. and worldwide market due to safety concerns of heart attack and stroke.
Are there other new, non-drug treatments for osteoarthritis?
Yes. The FDA has approved viscous solutions called Hyalgan and Synvisc that can be injected directly into the knee joint to help treat osteoarthritis of the knee.