Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. In OA, the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones breaks down, causing pain and swelling. OA can affect any joint, but the knees, hips and hands are the joints most often studied in clinical trials. In all, 10% of the world’s population aged 60 or older have pain or disability from OA.
Diacerein is a slow‐acting drug taken as a pill that may slow the breakdown of cartilage and relieve pain and swelling.
The review searched for studies up to March 2013 about primary osteoarthritis affecting men and women (18 years and older) of any disease severity.
Pain may improve slightly more in people taking diacerein.
‐ Improvement in physical function is about the same for people taking diacerein,‐ or a placebo (fake pill). This may have happened by chance.
‐ Diacerein may slow the process of joint space narrowing slightly of the hip but may have little or no difference on the knee joint as it is seen on an x‐ray.
‐ Diacerein may cause side effects in the lower digestive tract, such as diarrhoea.
Further research is very likely to have an important impact on our confidence in these findings and is likely to change the estimates.