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Abstract Objective Use of specific medications may accelerate the progression of radiographic knee OA (RKOA). Our aim was to examine the effect of medication use on the progression of RKOA. Methods We used longitudinal data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), an observational study of risk factors for knee OA. At baseline, we selected participants with RKOA (Kellgren–Lawrence grade ≥2) and excluded those with a history of knee-related injury/surgery and other musculoskeletal disorders. Current medication use (use/non-use in the previous 30 days) and radiographic medial minimum joint space width (mJSW) data were available at baseline and annually up to 96 months follow-up. We used random effects, panel regression to assess the association between current medication use (non-users as reference group) and change in mJSW. Results Of 2054 eligible participants, 2003 participants with baseline mJSW data were included [55.7% female, mean age 63.3 (s.d. 8.98) years]. Of seven medication classes, at baseline NSAIDs were the most frequently used analgesia (14.7%), anti-histamine (10.4%) use was frequent and the following comorbidity medications were used most frequently: statins (27.4%), anti-hypertensives (up to 15.0%), anti-depressant/anxiolytics/psychotropics (14.0%), osteoporosis-related medication (10.9%) and diabetes-related medication (6.9%). Compared with current non-users, current use of NSAIDs was associated with a loss of mJSW (b = −0.042, 95% CI −0.08, −0.0004). No other associations were observed. Conclusions In current users of NSAIDs, mJSW loss was increased compared with current non-users in participants with RKOA. Clinical trials are required to assess the potential disease-modifying effects of these medications.

Original publication




Journal article




Oxford University Press (OUP)

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