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Adding menthol to topical creams for osteoarthritis provides significant pain relief

WASHINGTON, DC -- Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive, degenerative joint disease estimated to affect more than 21 million individuals in the United States. The Arthritis Foundation reports that arthritis is the leading disability of Americans resulting in over 39 million medical visits per year and $65 billion in medical expenses and lost wages. This condition is characterized by erosion of articular cartilage, caused by enzymatic and mechanical breakdown of the extracellular matrix. The most common symptoms are pain, stiffness, reduced joint range of motion, and limitations to normal activities of daily living such as getting up from a chair, walking, balance and strength, and ascending/descending stairs, as well as limitations to local muscular endurance and hand grip strength in patients with OA of the upper extremities.

Pain reducing medications such as acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and COX-2 inhibitors have been common treatments for osteoarthritis in the growing elderly population. However, these medications often have painful side effects or do not react well with other medications. Accordingly, there is a need for alternative treatments for the osteoarthritis patient.

One proven alternative treatment is the use of oral and/or a topical blend of cetylated fatty acids. Cetylated monounsaturated fatty acids have been shown to provide protection against arthritis in rats; a recent study demonstrated that a topical cream consisting of a blend of cetylated fatty acids significantly reduced pain and improved physical function in patients with knee osteoarthritis. In that study, the first treatment of the topical cream caused acute improvements in stair climbing ability, timed "up and go" performance, knee range of motion, and a reduction in pain within 30 minutes. Additional improvements were observed after 30 days of treatment. However, this research was for the topical cream in its developmental stage and
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Contact: Donna Krupa
djkrupa1@aol.com
703-527-7357
American Physiological Society
19-Apr-2004


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