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Cheap Heart Drug Could Provide Pain Relief For Knee OA Patients

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Following the highly promising results of a recent study, researchers from the University of Dundee will test the potential of a cheap heart drug to alleviate pain in people suffering from knee osteoarthritis (OA). The team has received £135,000 from Arthritis Research UK for the first clinical trial involving the use of spironolactone to relieve knee OA pain.

Spironolactone has been around for over four decades and costs only £1 a week. It is used for the treatment of fluid retention resulting from liver disease, kidney problems or heart failure. The drug works by blocking the release of a chemical causing inflammation and increasing the production of a natural steroid. Since inflammation is part of OA, the Dundee University team believes that spironolactone could prove effective as a pain relief option for OA patients.

Should that prove so, this cheap drug could be used instead of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) available at present. Prolonged intake of NSAIDs is associated with side effects including heart attacks and stomach bleeds. Success in the new trial would be tremendous news for the six million Britons affected by knee OA. Not only is there no known cure for this painful condition but current solutions do not offer effective treatment.

The Dundee researchers have already established that spironolactone delivers significant benefits for frail older people. Their recently completed trial involved 120 subjects aged 75 on average and the results showed significant reduction in pain and improved quality of life. However, only 49 of the study participants were diagnosed with knee OA so the researchers now want to examine the effects on a larger group of patients.