Hydroxychloroquine does not reduce symptoms of hand osteoarthritis says new study

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hand arthritis treatment, hydroxychloroquine, hand pain drug, arthritis digest magazine A drug prescribed to treat osteoarthritis of the hand when conventional medication has failed does not work according to new research published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

A team has found there is no benefit in taking hydroxychloroquine to control debilitating pain when compared to a placebo (dummy substance).

Up to 31% of people aged over 70 years have hand osteoarthritis, which is more commonly seen in people whose occupations required increased manual dexterity.

It is usually treated with paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or opioids. If these options do not work, or when people have negative side effects, hydroxychloroquine is often prescribed.

“There is some scientific basis as to why hydroxychloroquine could be an effective drug agent,” says lead researcher Dr Sarah Kingsbury. “It is known to target inflammation in the joints and is a recognised and licensed treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

“There is increasing evidence that inflammation is a factor in osteoarthritis. So doctors have used hydroxychloroquine off-label, in a way that it was not licensed for, to try and control symptoms and pain.

“But until now, there has not been a large-scale study into whether using hydroxychloroquine works. And our evidence shows that for most patients it is not an effective treatment.”

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