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Pentosan Polysulfate Effects on Osteoarthritis of the Knee

By February 16, 2023March 17th, 2023No Comments

Millions of people around the world are suffering from a common disease known as knee osteoarthritis. It is a crippling condition that can restrict your daily activities while inflicting pain and discomfort on your knee joint.According to the CDC, over 32.5 million adults are living with osteoarthritis in the United States alone.

However, this condition can be managed, and active life can be possible with the proper approach and care. Pentosan polysulfate is one of the latest findings in treating and managing osteoarthritis by directly protecting the cartilage.

Read on to learn how to improve your knee osteoarthritis with pentosan polysulfate.


Manage Your Knee Pain – How Pentosan Polysulfate Improves Osteoarthritis

What Is Pentosan Polysulfate?

Pentosan polysulfate is a medication for treating symptoms caused by osteoarthritis, like joint pain and stiffness, by helping protect and repair the cartilage. It also treats bladder pain and discomfort caused by interstitial cystitis, which affects the bladder.

Pentosan polysulfate is combined with other approaches for treating knee osteoarthritis, such as pain medication, physical therapy, and weight management. It has been proven helpful in clinical studies for lowering knee pain and enhancing joint function.

Pentosan polysulfate is given in the form of an oral capsule or injection. As a prescription medication, it should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare provider.


How Does Pentosan Polysulfate Work?


Pentosan polysulfate is a type of sugar known as a sulfated polysaccharide but has been modified to have a strong affinity for joints. It works by reducing inflammation and the breakdown of cartilage in the knee joint. However, its exact mechanism is still unknown.

Pentosan polysulfate has anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce knee pain and swelling in osteoarthritis patients. Additionally, pentosan polysulfate inhibits the activity of enzymes that break down cartilage, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Reducing MMP activity delays the progression of knee osteoarthritis and improves joint function.


Pentosan Polysulfate Benefits


Pentosan polysulfate has several potential benefits when used to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis. These benefits include:

  • Reducing pain and inflammation in the joints: Pentosan polysulfate protects and repairs the cartilage in the joints, which can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Improving joint function: By reducing pain and inflammation, pentosan polysulfate can help improve joint function and mobility in people with osteoarthritis.
  • Improving the quality of life: By reducing pain and improving joint function, pentosan polysulfate can help improve the quality of life for people with osteoarthritis.


Pentosan Polysulfate in Osteoarthritis

A study was conducted for a total of 24 weeks in 114 patients to assess the ability of pentosan polysulfate to improve pain and function in individuals with knee osteoarthritis.



Pentosan polysulfate 3 mg/kg was given to knee osteoarthritis patients for 4 weeks. Scientists evaluated the efficacy of the medication before participant enrolment, every week for the first 4 weeks of treatment, and then at weeks 8, 12, 16, and 24.

The severity of joint stiffness, discomfort at rest, and pain when walking were among the seven assessments. A visual analog scale (VAS) was used to rate joint stiffness and discomfort while walking and resting. The 13 activities of daily living (ADLs) used to assess knee functionality include stair climbing and household duties.


Results and Conclusions

Pentosan polysulfate showed incredible efficacy. Compared to the placebo group, the continuation rates were more significant. The mean scores for the 13 ADLs were also higher in the pentosan polysulfate group, meaning they could carry out daily activities. This group also showed functional improvement from baseline at weeks 8 and 12.

The study concluded that 4 weekly injections of pentosan polysulfate were linked with a considerably shorter duration of joint stiffness and discomfort at rest compared to the placebo. In addition, in patients with knee osteoarthritis, this medicine also reduced pain when walking and overall function for 8 weeks after therapy ended.

Pentosan polysulfate may be beneficial in managing knee osteoarthritis symptoms, but it alone cannot treat the disease. Remember this medication is not yet FDA-approved for any conditions related to osteoarthritis in humans, and its benefits are under investigation. So it is crucial to consult your doctor before deciding if it is the right choice.


Pentosan Polysulfate Side Effects

Pentosan polysulfate is well-tolerated but can cause side effects like all medications. Nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are among the side effects of pentosan polysulfate, which are typically mild and go away independently.

The most common side effects of pentosan polysulfate in treating knee osteoarthritis are:

Nausea This side effect is temporary and usually disappears within a few days of starting the medication.
Diarrhea Similar to nausea, this side effect is not severe and does not need any medical attention.
Abdominal pain Some people may experience abdominal pain, but this is usually mild and goes away.
Allergic reactions Pentosan polysulfate can cause allergic reactions in some people, including hives, itching, and breathing difficulties. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any allergic reaction symptoms.
Blood clots Pentosan polysulfate may, in rare cases, make people more likely to get blood clots. Before taking this medication, discuss with your doctor if you have a history of blood clots.


Not all older adults will get knee osteoarthritis and suffer from its debilitating impact. However, it is still vital to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical attention if you think you may be vulnerable to this condition. The adverse effects of this disease on quality of life can be reduced with early diagnosis and treatment using pentosan polysulfate.


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