Is hydroxychloroquine effective at relieving synovitis in patients with hand osteoarthritis (OA)?

Updated: Oct 12, 2020
  • Author: Carlos J Lozada, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Hydroxychloroquine, which is approved for use in rheumatoid arthritis, has been used off-label in patients with hand osteoarthritis, on the supposition that it might help by relieving synovitis. However, a randomized study in 210 patients found that hydroxychloroquine does not improve symptoms of hand osteoarthritis. [80]

Study patients had experienced insufficient response to, or adverse effects from, analgesics such as acetaminophen, NSAIDs, or opioids, and were randomized to receive hydroxychloroquine (usually 300 mg/day) or placebo for 12 months, in addition to their usual analgesic medications. At 6 months, there were no significant differences between hydroxychloroquine and placebo recipients in hand pain—the primary outcome—or in grip strength and structural damage.

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