New Arthritis Remedy: An Injectable Gel

Got pain in one of your joints It might feel a lot like arthritis but theres a chance your pain could actually be caused by a completely different ailment Dont waste time getting treatment for the wrong kind of pain Before you run to the doctor complaining of arthritis make sure you rule out these other illnesses that Thirdagers often mistake for the crippling joint disease

It looks like there may be a real remedy within reach for the more 25 million Americans who suffer with the frequent agonizing joint pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. A new study at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) points to an injectable gel that can deliver pain relief exactly where and when a patient needs it.

There are already some injectable arthritis treatments, but although they take away the pain, the relief is short-lived. And there are implantable drug-delivery devices on the market, but they release medication continuously. This isn’t a perfect system for arthritis suffers because the illness acts in cycles with flare-ups and remissions and most arthritis patients don’t need meds all the time. Plus, an implantable device is likely to irritate and inflame the joint where it’s implanted.

The researchers at BWH worked on these two issues. In addition to having the ability to release a drug on demand, for example, the scientists also wanted a delivery system that could be injected through a small needle (that wouldn’t be irritating) and at the same time allow a high concentration of the drug.
 
That’s how the team of scientists decided a gel was the best solution. And they only focused on materials already approved  by the Food and Drug Administration as being recognized as safe for use in humans.

A series of successful experiments on rats showed they solved both problems. An injectable gel for arthritis pain relief is born. Among other promising results, the researchers found that the gel injected into the healthy joints of rats remained stable for at least two months. Further, the gel withstood wear and tear similar to the conditions in a moving joint. Additional tests are underway. The technique has yet to be demonstrated in humans, but the researchers reported in Journal of Biomedical Materials Research that it "should have broad implications for the localized treatment of arthritis. The news is hopeful. It looks like injectable gels for arthritis sufferers will be offering pain relief where and when it’s needed -- and in the not too distant future. Robin Westen is ThirdAge’s medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. See what others have to say about this story or leave a comment of your own.
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