Effectiveness of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs among patients with primary hypertrophic osteoarthropathy: A systematic review

J Dermatol Sci. 2018 Apr;90(1):21-26. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2017.12.012. Epub 2017 Dec 28.


Background: Primary hypertrophic osteoarthropathy (PHO), also known as pachydermoperiostosis is a rare genetic disease which predominantly affects skin, bone and soft connective tissue. It is characterized by the triad of pachydermia, digital clubbing and periostosis of long bones. Arthralgia or arthritis is also present in most of the cases. Genetic studies have identified the impaired PGE2 metabolism as a culprit for hypertrophic osteoarthropathy in PHO cases. We conducted a systematic review to examine the effectiveness of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), a PGE2 synthesis blocker to reduce the symptoms among PHO patients.

Methods: We searched the evidence in five databases; Cochrane Library, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, and PubMed. We reported the evidence using narrative synthesis.

Results: Out of 238 identified studies, we selected 26 for the synthesis. All were case reports which included a total of 54 patients. Among them, 39 patients were treated with at least one type of NSAIDs. Around 70% of the patients treated with NSAIDs had clinical improvement for their symptoms, mostly arthritis or arthralgia symptoms.

Conclusion: NSAIDs were effective in improving arthralgia or arthritis symptoms in majority of the PHO patients. Therefore, we recommend the use of NSAIDs in PHO patients to treat arthralgia or arthritis.

Keywords: Hypertrophic osteoarthropathy; NSAIDs.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Dinoprostone / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Dinoprostone / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthropathy, Primary Hypertrophic / drug therapy*
  • Osteoarthropathy, Primary Hypertrophic / genetics
  • Osteoarthropathy, Primary Hypertrophic / pathology
  • Rare Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Rare Diseases / genetics
  • Rare Diseases / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Dinoprostone