A potential Treatment for Osteoarthritis?
A radical new treatment for Osteoarthritis (OA) has been reported on recently in The Daily Mail. Our Chartered Physiotherapist Rebecca Wyatt reveals more.
The product is called Flexiseq and will be available on local pharmacy shelves for anyone to purchase. It is a ‘drug-free’ gel containing a type of fat which naturally occurs within our bodies called phospholipid. The intended use of this gel is that you smear it over the affected arthritic joints (not rub) where it is intended to soak through the pores of your skin to the joint itself. In theory this is brilliant, however, the problem being that you need a whole tube for one joint over week before any supposed benefits start to occur.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a painful and debilitating condition which affects up to 9million people in the UK. It is a degenerative condition which mainly affects the cartilage surfaces on bones. It is a well known fact that exercise is important in OA in maintaining the range of movement in affected joints and keeping patients functional. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has published guidelines emphasising that exercise is key in the treatment of OA, with Physiotherapists being a vital role in prescribing graded exercise programmes.
Are there any benefits to using Flexiseq?
Some studies have been carried out into possible of the benefits of Flexiseq in 4000 people with OA. The results showed that Flexiseq was equally as effective as a popular medication called Celebrex in reducing pain and improving movement. Of course this is brilliant, however, it doesn’t state at which stage of OA this is most beneficial and not everyone takes Celebrex. Further research is needed to definitively understand how much of a benefit Flexiseq provides over the current, already validated treatments which are advised in the management of all stages of OA. It should be remembered that it does not replace Physiotherapy as treatment for providing improvement in movements.
As for the long-term benefits? Until conclusive studies and further guidelines are produced regarding use of Flexiseq in arthritis it is unlikely we will be recommending it as a treatment to our patients. Ultimately, Flexiseq is a topical, additional therapy which does not act to replace current proven best practice and management of Osteoarthritis.