Effects of antiinflammatory drugs on the progression of osteoarthritis of the knee. LINK Study Group. Longitudinal Investigation of Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs in Knee Osteoarthritis

J Rheumatol. 1995 Oct;22(10):1941-6.


Objective: To compare the rate of radiographic progression in knee osteoarthritis (OA) comparing indomethacin with placebo and tiaprofenic acid with placebo.

Methods: Rate of radiographic progression of OA of the knees was studied in 812 patients randomized double blind parallel group study at 20 rheumatology clinics in the United Kingdom and analyzed sequentially. Patients received either indomethacin 25 mg three times daily, tiaprofenic acid 300 mg twice daily, or matched placebo. All had access to paracetamol as a rescue analgesic. Joint space narrowing was measured by a 6 point grading scale, using radiographs taken with a standardized technique at recruitment and annually thereafter.

Results: Three hundred and seventy six patients completed at least one year of study medication and therefore contributed evaluable results. More than twice as many patients showed deterioration in the indomethacin group as in the placebo group; of 170 available patients at the 3rd interim analysis, 40 of 85 receiving indomethacin had deteriorated compared to 19 of 85 receiving placebo, a statistically significant difference (p = 0.009). No statistically significant difference (p = 0.308) was found between tiaprofenic acid and placebo at the 7th interim analysis, the conclusion of the study.

Conclusion: Indomethacin increased the rate of radiological deterioration of joint space in patients with OA of the knee; tiaprofenic acid did not.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Arthrography
  • Disease Progression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indomethacin / therapeutic use
  • Knee Joint* / diagnostic imaging
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Placebos
  • Propionates / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Placebos
  • Propionates
  • tiaprofenic acid
  • Indomethacin