Drug-free gel for osteoarthritis wins support of experts

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A NEW gel designed to tackle crippling pain caused by osteoarthritis has been backed by specialists in the region.

Experts from Leeds led two clinical trials into the newly-launched Flexiseq cream, which is drug-free and designed to lubricate joints.

Studies suggest the approach has no serious side effects compared to conventional painkillers and is as good for pain relief as anti-inflammatory drugs.

Prof Phil Conaghan of Leeds University said more people were suffering from the condition as the population aged but existing therapies could trigger serious side-effects.

“Many osteoarthritis patients are elderly and have additional health conditions that mean they are especially at risk of these side effects,” he said. “Safety is therefore a key concern for new therapies and patients and healthcare professionals would welcome new treatment options which are effective and without such safety concerns.”

John Dickson, a community specialist in rheumatology from Northallerton, said: “It is well recognised that effectively managing chronic pain, particularly in patients with other conditions and risk factors, is a massive challenge that GPs and patients face on a daily basis. This topical treatment is drug-free and seems to have an excellent safety profile.”

The charity Arthritis Research UK will get a percentage of proceeds from sales of the gel from its website and Lloydspharmacy.

Its chief executive Liam O’Toole said there were nearly nine million sufferers of the condition in the UK, often suffering debilitating pain.

“Current approaches to treating this pain are inadequate and we are interested in the potential of this news approach,” he said.

A man from Doncaster with severe rheumatoid arthritis has become the first in Europe to take part in a trial of a new drug. Peter Wynne, 63, who has the condition in his hands, knees and shoulders, was the first to sign up for the Ascertain trial to test the drug sarilumab at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.