Study results do not support use of hydroxychloroquine in hand osteoarthritis

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has shown that using hydroxychloroquine has no significant effect on osteoarthritic pain.

Osteoarthritis knee X ray

There is anecdotal evidence that the slow-acting anti-inflammatory treatment hydroxychloroquine, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, could also be effective in osteoarthritis. However, data on this are limited.

In the Annals of Internal Medicine (20 February 2018), researchers carried out a 12-month randomised trial involving 248 patients with hand osteoarthritis and moderate-to-severe pain who were assigned to 200–400mg hydroxychloroquine or placebo, in addition to ongoing usual care[1]

At six months, the team found that the average hand pain score over the prior two weeks was 5.66 out of 10 in the active treatment group, compared with 5.49 in the placebo group, a non-significant difference.

The results, therefore, do not provide evidence to support the use of hydroxychloroquine in hand osteoarthritis, the researchers concluded.


[1] Kingsbury S, Tharnanathan P, Keding A et al. Hydroxychloroquine effectiveness in reducing symptoms of hand osteoarthritis. Ann Int Med 2018;168(6):385–395.doi: 10.7326/M17-1430

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, May 2018, Vol 10, No 5;10(5):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20204612

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