Dutch research has shown that low-dose prednisolone improves symptoms in patients with painful hand osteoarthritis (OA).
An RCT of 92 patients with hand OA, presented at EULAR in Madrid as part of the HOPE study, showed that giving patients 10mg of prednisolone daily for six weeks significantly improved pain and function compared with placebo.
The patients, aged 64 years on average, had painful hand OA with signs of synovial inflammation.
After six weeks, the patients taking prednisolone had, on average, a -16.5-point difference in finger pain on the Visual Analogue Scale, and a -3.5-point difference in AUSCAN pain.
Oral glucocorticoid therapy currently isn’t recommended for hand OA due to conflicting data. Patients are limited to topical and oral NSAIDs to relieve symptoms.
However, studies have shown that synovial inflammation is related to hand OA, which suggest that synovitis is a possible target of treatment.
“Our study provides evidence that local inflammation is a suitable target for drug treatment in hand osteoarthritis,” said the presenting author Dr Féline Kroon, a researcher at Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands.
“Significant improvements in pain and function were seen in the trial meaning prednisolone could be considered by physicians treating people suffering with hand osteoarthritis.”
Listen to the full interview with Dr Kroon here: