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Hydroxychloroquine should not be used for hand osteoarthritis, say researchers

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k774 (Published 20 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k774
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

Hydroxychloroquine is no more effective than placebo in reducing the symptoms of hand osteoarthritis, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has found.1 The UK researchers said that their findings do not support the current practice of off-label use of hydroxychloroquine in patients with hand osteoarthritis.

Symptomatic hand osteoarthritis affects 4-31% of adults over 70. It can cause significant pain and make it hard to perform basic activities such as eating, cooking, and dressing.

No current therapies modify the progression of damage to cartilage and bone, and treatment is focused on symptom relief. Some studies have suggested that low levels of inflammation cause symptoms in osteoarthritis. Hydroxychloroquine is an established treatment for inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. …

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