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New Drug For Treating Chronic Shoulder Pain

The patients suffering from chronic shoulder pain were left with only two options previously, either to take Advil or to go for a surgery//, after the safety concerns surrounding Vioxx and other Cox-2 inhibitors were raised. But a research done by Columbia University Medical Center has found that sodium hyaluronate, a drug approved by FDA for treating osteoarthritis of the knee can also be used for treating the shoulder pain.

The study was presented today at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting in Chicago by Theodore Blaine, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at Columbia University Medical Center and an attending surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

The study showed that in patients with osteoarthritis of the shoulder, sodium hyaluronate was effective in reducing chronic pain by nearly 50 percent. The results were comparable to the 1998 study that led the FDA to approve the drug's use in treating knee pain. The FDA is currently reviewing the results in shoulder pain.

"Chronic shoulder pain is a common problem that can not adequately be treated with existing FDA-approved therapies," said Dr. Blaine, who was the principal investigator of the study. "The results of the trial were very encouraging, and we hope will lead to this drug's approval as an effective therapy for thousands of suffering patients."

According to the National Institute of Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, shoulder problems account for about 1.5 million visits to orthopaedic surgeons annually. The pain can be caused by a variety of problems, including osteoarthritis or rotator cuff tears.

Sodium hyaluronate is a vital building block of normal cartilage. It is marketed under the name Hyalgan by Sanofi Aventis.

All of the patients in the study had previously tried nonsurgical clinical interventions - including physical therapy, at least one steroid injection, and various oral pain medicati
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