Efficacy and Safety of Topical Nimesulide in the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis

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Background:Osteoarthritis (OA) affects mainly older people who are more sensitive to adverse effects of classic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Recent publications indicate that topically applied nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective and much safer than their oral analogues.Objectives:In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study design, we aimed to investigate whether topical nimesulide treatment has any beneficial effect in knee OA patients.Methods:Seventy-four adult knee OA outpatients were enrolled. We used Western Ontario and McMaster Universities OA Index (WOMAC), Nottingham Health Profile (NHP), and patient and physician global satisfaction scores. WOMAC and NHP scores were measured at the initial and final visit. Treatment group received topical nimesulide gel 1% on the knee skin 3 times a day whereas placebo group received an identical-appearing gel for 30 days.Results:There was a significant improvement in the nimesulide treatment group for all 3 parameters and overall score of WOMAC between pretreatment and posttreatment values. The overall WOMAC scores was significantly better than placebo (P = 0.03), but physical functioning, stiffness, and pain scales did not reach statistical significance. For the NHP scores there was an improvement at “energy level,” “pain,” “physical motion,” and “NHP distress” scores in the treatment group whereas no improvement was found in the placebo group. Between-group differences were not significant. Both patient and physician satisfaction scores were significantly better in the treatment group.Conclusion:This study shows that topical nimesulide gel can have beneficial effects and can improve quality of life in patients with knee OA.

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