Hear Ye, Hear Ye…Women with Osteoarthritis: Osteoporosis Drug Calcitonin May Prevent Osteoarthritis

December 27, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

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Indeed good news to women suffering from osteoarthritis.

Initial studies conducted in rats suggested that an existing drug – already known as calcitonin – can help older, post-menopausal women prevent osteoarthritis.

Currently, calcitonin is being used in the treatment of osteoporosis in women.

According to study co-author Morten A. Karsdal, head of pharmacology at Nordic Bioscience (a biotech company that is studying the drug’s prospects as an arthritis treatment):

”Patients “should be hopeful”. It is important to treat both loss of bone and loss of cartilage, the elastic tissue that helps bones tolerate moving against each other.

When bone turnover increases after menopause, due to lower estrogen production, a secondary effect is seen on cartilage, more cartilage is lost.

Ideally, all drugs that may be developed for osteoarthritis will be able to affect both bone and cartilage, as both are in disequilibrium in osteoarthritis.”

BUT we should remember that testing in humans won’t end for another three years — and there’s no guarantee that the drug will work as well in humans as in rats.

Said Dr. J.C. Gallagher, director of the Bone Metabolism Unit at Creighton University Medical School in Omaha, Nebraska:

Hips and knees can be especially susceptible. For many, pain on exercise is the major problem.

As a result, they stop exercising, and this leads to an increase in body weight which increases the ‘load’ on the joints and worsens the arthritis.

There are numerous treatments to relieve osteoarthritis pain but none to stop the wear and tear on the bone, joints and cartilage.

The form of calcitonin used in this study is the oral form which is off the market. Calcitonin is currently available as a nasal spray and an injection only – forms that haven’t been investigated as possible osteoarthritis treatments.

Suffice to say that the initial findings published in the August issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism still has a long way to go before it passes suitability for human testing.

But then, an estimated 10 percent of Americans, and 80 percent of those over 55 women that are especially vulnerable to osteoarthritis will be wanting to know how this particular line of research goes.

Find more details from CBC.Ca News.

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