Healthline recently asked me to provide context for an article about recent research showing that talarozole may reduce and modify the symptoms of osteoarthritis, a condition that impacts more than 32 million American adults.
Talarozole was developed in the early 2000s and is currently not licensed or approved to treat any condition. A team at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom discovered that levels of retinoic acid are low in individuals deemed at risk of developing osteoarthritis in their hands.
How does that apply to inflammation and the pain experienced by people with OA? When it comes to the body’s recovery from an injury, inflammation is good to a point. But it needs to “switch off.” That’s where Talarozole comes in. I helped one of Healthline’s writers understand how the drug works and what other treatment options for QA exist.
The drug Talarozole has been shown to act as a ‘retinoic acid metabolism blocking agent’ in the body. What does this entail?
The authors in this study found a correlation between all-trans retinoic acid (atRA) levels and cartilage injury caused by inflammation in hand osteoarthritis (OA). All-trans retinoic acid is a nutrient made in the body from vitamin A and helps cells grow and develop. Talarozole is a retinoic acid metabolism blocking agent (RAMBA) that works by blocking the breakdown of atRA which results in an increase in atRA levels. Data show that boosting atRA levels suppresses inflammation and damage to cartilage in the joints. The study shows that retinoic acid may have an anti-inflammatory role in OA and that drugs like talarozole has the potential to be a disease modifying drug in OA.
What drugs are currently licensed/approved for use in treating osteoarthritis?
Drugs commonly used to treat osteoarthritis in the hand are topical and oral NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Topical NSAIDs would typically be the initial pharmacologic treatment used because they work well and are not associated with the adverse effects of the oral NSAIDs. Oral NSAIDs are usually reserved for patients that don’t respond well to other therapies. They should be used at the lowest dose and for the shortest time possible because of their potential for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and renal side effects.
- Topical NSAID – Diclofenac
- Oral NSAID Examples – Ibuprofen, ketoprofen, diclofenac, naproxen, sulindac
Read the full article on Healthline.