Intraarticular drug delivery in osteoarthritis☆

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Osteoarthritis (OA) is a primarily non-inflammatory, degenerative joint disease characterized by progressive loss of articular cartilage, subchondral bone sclerosis, osteophyte formation, changes in the synovial membrane, and an increased volume of synovial fluid with reduced viscosity and hence changed lubrication properties. As OA is the most common type of arthritis and a leading cause of disability, there is a largely unmet medical need for disease-modifying and symptomatic treatment. Due to the localized nature of the disease, intraarticular (IA) drug injection is an attractive treatment approach for OA. The various glucocorticoid and hyaluronic acid (HA) formulations, which are currently available on the market for IA treatment, provide only short-term pain relief or/and often do not provide adequate pain relief. The available oral drugs for symptomatic treatment also have shortcomings, most notably side effects. Therefore, there is still a large unmet need for novel OA drugs, which provide effective long-term pain relief and/or have disease-modifying properties. To achieve long-term drug exposure, different established formulations such as suspensions and hydrogels, and also novel approaches such as lipid based formulations and nano- or microparticles are currently in development. The development of novel drugs in combination with new formulations for IA treatment of OA, represents a promising approach in this challenging area of research.

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