New Drug Treatments for Osteoarthritis: What is on the Horizon?

*Fiona E. Watt,1 Malvika Gulati2

1. Arthritis Research UK Centre for Osteoarthritis Pathogenesis, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
2. Department of Rheumatology, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK
*Correspondence to

Disclosure: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest.
Support: This work was supported by the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Osteoarthritis Pathogenesis
(Grant ref. 20205).
Received: 08.04.16 Accepted: 21.12.16
Citation: EMJ. 2017;2[1]:50-58.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, yet has historically lagged far behind rheumatoid arthritis in terms of drug development. Despite the many challenges presented by clinical trials in OA, improvements in our understanding of disease pathogenesis and a move to treat pain, as well as underlying disease process, mean there are now many new pharmacological therapies currently in various stages of clinical trials. The medical need for these therapies and the evidence for recent tissue and molecular targets are reviewed. Current therapeutic examples in each area are discussed, including both novel therapeutics and existing agents which may be repurposed from other disease areas. Some challenges remain, but opportunities for improving symptoms and disease process in OA in the clinic with new pharmacological agents would appear to be on the close horizon.

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