Novel drug eases osteoarthritis knee pain

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London, Sep 30 (ANI): A new research has shown that a phase II clinical trial of the first new type of drug for musculoskeletal pain since aspirin shows that it significantly reduces knee pain in osteoarthritis.

According to the new research from Northwestern Medicine, phase III trials of that drug, tanezumab, have been placed on clinical hold after 16 out of several thousand participants in the new trial developed progressively worsening arthritis and bone changes that required total joint replacements.

"The bottom line is this is a very effective drug for relieving pain; unfortunately, it appears some people go on to have their osteoarthritis progress more quickly," said Thomas Schnitzer, M.D., a rheumatologist and professor in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Northwestern Medicine.

Tanezumab is the first new drug for general muscle or joint pain in over 100 years, Schnitzer said, noting nonsteroidals and COX inhibitors are a "fancy form of aspirin."

Other drugs currently used to treat pain have significant side effects -- bleeding, ulcers and an increase in heart attacks -- that limit their use.

Anecdotally, tanezumab appears to provide greater pain relief than current drugs.

In the phase II study of 440 patients, treatment with tanezumab reduced knee pain during walking by 45 to 62 percent compared to 22 percent reduction in pain with a placebo. The pain scores were equal to or lower than those reported by patients during screening while taking their prior pain medication.

Schnitzer said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is examining data to decide how to proceed.

The drug works by neutralizing or blocking Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), a molecule needed for normal development of the nervous system, but which also gets released when there is inflammation in the body. NGF stimulates nerve cells and triggers pain.

The study has been published Aug. 26 in the New England Journal of Medicine. (ANI)

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