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Hydroxychloroquine No Better Than Placebo for Hand OA

TUESDAY, Feb. 20, 2018 -- For patients with moderate-to-severe hand pain and radiographic osteoarthritis, hydroxychloroquine is no more effective than placebo for relieving pain, according to a study published online Feb. 20 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Sarah R. Kingsbury, Ph.D., from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial with 12-month follow-up to examine the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine versus placebo as an analgesic treatment of hand osteoarthritis. A total of 248 participants with symptomatic and radiographic hand osteoarthritis were randomized to hydroxychloroquine or placebo for 12 months with ongoing usual care; 210 patients completed the six-month trial.

The researchers found that mean hand pain was 5.49 and 5.66 points in the placebo and hydroxychloroquine groups, respectively, at six months, with a treatment difference of −0.16 points (95 percent confidence interval, −0.73 to 0.40 points; P = 0.57). The results were consistent with adjustment for adherence, missing data, and use of rescue medications. There were no significant differences at three, six, or 12 months for any of the secondary outcomes. On grayscale ultrasonography and power Doppler, the percentage of participants with at least one joint with synovitis was 94 and 59 percent, respectively. Treatment response was not affected by baseline structural damage or synovitis.

"Hydroxychloroquine was no more effective than placebo for pain relief in patients with moderate-to-severe hand pain and radiographic osteoarthritis," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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Posted: February 2018