Osteoporosis drug could help pain of osteoarthritis

A drug often prescribed to people with osteoporosis could provide pain relief to people  with hip and knee osteoarthritis too, says a study published in PLOS One.

A team from the University of London looked at the effectiveness of bisphosphonates in 3,832 people who had osteoarthritis of the hip, spine, knee and hand.

Pain relief was found to be limited in most cases but some groups did experience benefits. Bisphosphonate alendronate was more effective for people with hip osteoarthritis than existing pain-relieving drugs. Zoledronate and alendronate used together improved pain levels in those with knee and hip osteoarthritis at six months.

“More research needs to be carried out to determine which patients could benefit most from this type of intervention,” says lead researcher Dr Nidhi Sofat. “Osteoarthritis is a long-term chronic condition, so it’s essential that we work to understand whether the use of these medicines in the long term could be tolerated.”