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Knee Arthritis Drugs Beat Placebos, but Study Finds No Clear Winner

HealthDay—January 6, 2015

Pain-relieving treatments for knee arthritis all work better than doing nothing -- but it's hard to point to a clear winner, a new research review concluded.

Using data from almost 140 studies, researchers found all of the widely used arthritis treatments -- from over-the-counter painkillers to pain-relieving injections -- brought more relief to aching knees over three months than did placebo pills.

In the earlier stages of knee arthritis, doctors often recommend oral painkillers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).

And because acetaminophen is less risky, it is still a "very reasonable" place to start, said Dr. Lisa Mandl, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

"However, I would suggest using a high dose for a short trial period. And if it's not effective quickly, move on to another option," said Mandl, who cowrote an editorial published with the study.

This article originally appeared at consumer/healthday.com.


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