Relief could be on the way for people with painful hand osteoarthritis after a Monash University and Alfred Health-led study found an affordable existing drug can help.

Professor Flavia Cicuttini, who headed up the research says they investigated methotrexate, a low-cost, effective treatment for inflammatory joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. It has been widely used in Australia and globally since the early 1980s.

Researchers found that methotrexate reduced symptoms in those with hand osteoarthritis (OA). A 20mg weekly oral dose over six months had a moderate effect in reducing pain and stiffness in patients with symptomatic hand OA.

Hand OA is a disabling condition that causes pain and affects function, impeding daily activities such as dressing and eating. It can significantly reduce quality of life. About one in two women and one in four men will experience symptoms from hand OA by the time they turn 85.

Listen to Professor Flavia Cicuttin’s chat with Leah below.