Anyone who has experienced the joint pain and disfigurement of osteoarthritis will testify to the debilitating effect this disease has on their whole life. People need to be active and mobile, but when your fingers and joints are on fire from arthritis, it’s difficult to maintain a happy spirit and buoyant attitude.
But there is hope: towards the end of March this year, a pharmacological breakthrough was made when it was discovered that a drug currently licensed to treat menopausal osteoporosis, called Protelos (strontium ranelate), can slow the progress of osteoarthritis. A large drug trial was conducted to determine whether Protelos could treat knee arthritis and it was found that over three years, daily doses reduced the disintegration of joint cartilage and also had a positive effect on the pain and mobility associated with osteoarthritis.
The findings are not yet conclusive, but strong evidence suggests that this is one step closer towards the cure and it has raised the hopes of sufferers, as current treatments only focus on symptoms rather than prevention. Should this joint degenerative disease treatment be successfully patented for osteoarthritis, it could mean a huge reduction in hip and knee replacements, which come with pain and complications of their own.
The best part of this news is that the drug costs less than £1 (R13) per day which is good news for those who aren’t on medical aid; but because the trial results are just the preliminary findings, the medical profession and the public are urged to wait for the full research paper to be released before getting their hopes up completely. The abstract findings are still due for peer reviews, which will include analysing any problems and possible limitations with the study. Nevertheless, breakthroughs in science where people’s quality of life can be greatly improved are always exciting and encouraging
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