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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Northwestern: Drug Shows Benefit for Osteoarthritis Patients

A drug called tanezumab reduced pain and improved physical function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, according to the results of a large clinical trial published in JAMA.

Although further research into safety is needed, the treatment represents a potential new approach to pain management for osteoarthritis.

The study was led by Dr. Thomas Schnitzer, professor of physical medicine and rehabilitationanesthesiology and medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at Northwestern. Dr. Schnitzer is also a member of the Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM) at Northwestern.

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a painful condition characterized by the breakdown of cartilage, ligaments and other joint structures. The disease affects more than 30 million people in the United States, and is a top cause of disability in older adults.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis; as such, treatment has largely focused on pain management and improving patients’ ability to function normally. However, current drug options, including opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), carry significant side effects and risks.

Tanezumab is part of a different class of drugs that inhibits nerve growth factor, a protein involved in pain signaling and expressed in the joints of patients with osteoarthritis.

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