The osteoporosis treatment strontium ranelate has also been shown to slow the progression of osteoarthritis in knees, researchers have found.
The three-year Phase III study, of more than 1,300 patients, is the first to show a treatment that can slow cartilage degradation in knees.
The international study, which included researchers from King's College, London, and Southampton General Hospital, found an 1g per day of strontium reduced ‘end in joint space width' by 0.14mm compared with placebo and 2g per day resulted in a reduction of 0.10cm.
Strontium is currently licensed to reduce the risk of fractures in the spine and hip in post-menopausal women with osteoporosis.
The study was presented at the European Congress on Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis last week.