Intra-articular treatment of arthritides and activated osteoarthritis with the 5-HT3 receptor antagonist tropisetron. A double-blind study compared with methylprednisolone

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BackgroundSince the good effect of intra-articular injections of the 5-HT3 receptor antagonist tropisetron in patients with arthritides and activated osteoarthritis has already been demonstrated in pilot studies, the effect of tropisetron is compared with that of methylprednisolone here.ObjectivesIn a double-blind study, 34 patients with gonarthritides or activated osteoarthritis (18 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, 16 patients with osteoarthritis) were treated with a single intra-articular injection of 10 mg tropisetron (18 patients) or 40 mg methylprednisolone (16 patients). Before treatment as well as one and three weeks later, the intensity of rest pain and pain following exercise was measured with the visual analog scale (VAS) for pain and the clinical findings in the knee joint were recorded.ResultsBy means of the intra-articular tropisetron treatment, the inflammatory joint process with arthritides and activated arthroses could be influenced in a similar way as with corticosteroid treatment. No significant differences were detected.ConclusionAccording to the results presented here, the intra-articular treatment with the 5-HT3 receptor antagonist tropisetron in patients with gonarthritides and activated arthroses was about equally effective as those for treatment with corticosteroids. Therefore, it can be used as an alternative in patients for whom concomitant diseases like diabetes and hypertension make it difficult to use corticosteroids. Whether increasing the tropisetron dose may further improve the results remains to be determined in future studies.

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