A drug used to treat lameness in horses has been found to have an enormous ability to beat osteoarthritis pain in humans.
The substance, administered to patients by injection, has been hailed in Australia – where its use against osteoarthritis was pioneered – as the first blockbuster drug since anti-cholesterol pills.
It also has the potential to delay or completely eliminate the need for osteoarthritis-related hip and knee replacements, experts say.
More than 27 million Americans are affected by osteoarthritis - a degenerative disease that is the most common form of arthritis. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 50 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis.
The drug is pentosan polysulfate sodium (known in medical circles as PPS) and its use in human osteoarthritis sufferers was spearheaded by a team led by the University of Sydney’s Dr. Peter Ghosh, a professor in the school’s medical faculty.
Co-researcher Dr. Jegan Krishnan – an orthopedic surgeon who is also a professor of medicine at Flinders University in Adelaide – says small trials of the drug involving human patients have proved highly successful.