CAN NSAIDS WORSEN OSTEOARTHRITIS?

Around 40 million Americans are estimated to be diagnosed with osteoarthritis which can lead to chronic pain or debility related to joint or spine degeneration. Given this prevalence, it’s not surprising that many patients manage their symptoms with Nonsteroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs like ibuprofen or aleve. However, a new study presented at the Radiological Society of North America in 2022 shows that this may not be the best strategy.

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In the study in question, participants with osteoarthritis who were taking NSAIDs for at least one year were compared with non-NSAID treated participants (controls). All participants underwent a 3T MRI of the knee at baseline and after 4 years to compare the outcomes. Images were scored for biomarkers of joint inflammation and Cartilage thickness.

The results of the study showed that the group of patients taking NSAIDs had a significantly higher increase in arthritis related inflammation compared to the control group. NSAID users also showed more degenerative changes regarding cartilage thickness over time in the follow up MRI’s.

The study concluded that NSAID use may actually worsen osteoarthritis long term. Given that this is one of the most commonly used strategies for patients and physicians alike, this research, and more research like it, could lead to a complete recalibration on treatment recommendations for patients with arthritis. 

If you have any questions regarding osteoarthritis or anything related to it do not hesitate to contact us!

REFERENCES
1. Rsna. (n.d.). NSAIDs may worsen arthritis inflammation. RSNA Press Releases. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from https://press.rsna.org/timssnet/media/pressreleases/14_pr_target.cfm?id=2379

2. Image Credit: www.canva.com

About The Author
Ignatios Papas, DO

Ignatios Papas, DO

Ignatios Papas, DO, is a non-surgical orthopedic physician specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Regenexx® at New Regeneration Orthopedics.
Ignatios Papas, DO

Ignatios Papas, DO

Ignatios Papas, DO, is a non-surgical orthopedic physician specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Regenexx® at New Regeneration Orthopedics.

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