Injections of botulinum type A, or BOTOX® , into the knee joint could help to reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA) and delay the need for knee replacement surgery, researchers have revealed.
A new study, preliminary results of which were presented at the American College of Rheumatology's recent annual meeting, found that knee OA patients with severe pain experienced a 28 per cent decrease in pain and a 25 per cent improvement in function after receiving injections of BOTOX® combined with lidocaine.
Researchers compared the results with patients who had received a placebo injection containing lidocaine but no BOTOX®, and found that the latter group experienced no significant decrease in pain.
"It's too early to say for sure what role injections of BOTOX® may play in knee OA," said Dr Robert Wortmann, professor and chairman at the University of Oklahoma's department of rheumatology.
"But having the possibility of something that may alter the course or pain levels for a disease to which there is no known cure is really exciting," he told WebMD.
Dr Wortmann also said that, assuming the treatment does indeed have a positive effect in knee OA cases, it would probably be beneficial for patients with hip OA as well.