What is new in pain modification in osteoarthritis?

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2018 May 1;57(suppl_4):iv99-iv107. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kex522.


There is a big need for the development of novel therapies for the safe management of chronic pain associated with OA. Here we reviewed PubMed (2015 onward) and ClinicalTrials.gov for ongoing and recently completed trials where pain in OA is the primary outcome measure. Three broad categories were identified: biological therapies, small molecules and cryoneurolysis. The most promising new strategy is blockade of nerve growth factor with antibodies. Two anti-nerve growth factor antibodies, tanuzemab and fasinumab, are in active development after the 2010 hold on trials was lifted in 2015. In addition, several active clinical trials are testing distinct mechanism-based interventions, including cytokine inhibition, selective μ, δ or κ opioid receptor agonists, zoledronate and intra-articular capsaicin. In addition to pharmacological approaches, cryoneurolytic strategies that directly target peripheral nerves may play a role in OA pain management, but efficacy profiles and long-term effects of such treatments need more study. Clearly, the therapeutic landscape for OA pain is rapidly expanding. Since symptomatic OA is a heterogeneous disease, the challenge will be to identify patients that will benefit the most from specific approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthralgia* / diagnosis
  • Arthralgia* / etiology
  • Arthralgia* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis / complications*
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement