Update on novel pharmacological therapies for osteoarthritis

Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2019 Jul 23:11:1759720X19864492. doi: 10.1177/1759720X19864492. eCollection 2019.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic painful arthritis with increasing global prevalence. Current management involves non-pharmacological interventions and commonly used pharmacological treatments that generally have limited analgesic efficacy and multiple side effects. New treatments are therefore required to relieve patient symptoms and disease impact. A number of existing pharmacological therapies have been recently trialled in OA. These include extended-release triamcinolone and conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) used in the management of rheumatoid arthritis; generally, DMARDs have not shown a benefit in treating OA. Novel analgesic therapies are in development, including those targeting peripheral pain pathways. Disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs) target key tissues in the OA pathophysiology process and aim to prevent structural progression; a number of putative DMOADs are in phase II development. There is preliminary evidence of structural improvement with some of these therapies but without concomitant symptom improvement, raising new considerations for future DMOAD trials.

Keywords: DMOAD; cartilage; corticosteroids; inflammation; nociceptive pain; osteoarthritis; synovitis.

Publication types

  • Review