THURSDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDayNews) -- Pain and stiffness caused by arthritis in the knee can be relieved through the use of topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
That advice appears in an article in the Oct. 11 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine.
NSAIDs are recommended for treating arthritis symptoms, but when taken orally they can adversely impact the gastrointestinal tract, the liver and the kidneys. Asprin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are among the most commonly known NSAIDs. Researchers found that topical NSAIDs could provide a safer alternative.
The researchers treated 228 men and women with osteoarthritis in at least one knee. They used a topical NSAID solution containing diclofenac sodium.
Patients using the solution experienced a 45.7 percent reduction in knee pain, a 36.7 percent improvement in physical function and a 35.1 percent reduction in knee stiffness, according to the research team at Arizona Research & Education in Phoenix. The patients also reported a 45 percent reduction in pain while walking.
The adverse effects of the solution were mostly limited to minor skin irritation, with 41.5 percent of the patients reporting some sort of skin problem. Dry skin and rash were the most frequent complaints.
The Arthritis Foundation has more about NSAIDs.