Purpose of review: To review new data on pharmacologic treatment of osteoarthritis for the years 2011-2012.
Recent findings: Duloxetine was approved for the treatment of chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis and has been conditionally recommended by the American College of Rheumatology. Strontium ranelate was found to significantly decrease the rate of decline in joint space width as well as improve pain scores compared with placebo in a large multicenter study in patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Nerve growth factor (NGF) monoclonal antibody therapy has shown much promise with regard to improvement in pain; however, clinical development studies were stopped out of concern for adverse events in 2010. After a review by the Food and Drug Administration, this hold may be lifted and further studies may resume in 2013. The biologic agents interleukin-1 receptor antagonist and antitumor necrosis factor antibodies have not been shown to be efficacious nor to alter the course of osteoarthritis. Much research surrounding intra-articular injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has not produced clear evidence that this therapy is efficacious in osteoarthritis. There are presently studies using mesenchymal stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis.
Summary: Duloxetine, strontium ranelate, and NGF antibodies are promising therapies for symptomatic osteoarthritis. At this time, MSCs and PRP require more investigation.