PURPOSE OF REVIEW:
Osteoarthritis is a complex and often painful disease that is inadequately controlled with current analgesics. This review discusses emerging targets and therapeutic approaches that may lead to the development of better analgesics.
Aberrant excitability in peripheral and central pain pathways drives osteoarthritis pain, reversing this via modulation of nerve growth factor, voltage-gated sodium channel, voltage-gated calcium channel and transient receptor potential vanilloid one activity, and increasing inhibitory mechanisms through modulation of cannabinoid and descending modulatory systems hold promise for osteoarthritis pain therapy. Somatosensory phenotyping of chronic pain patients, as a surrogate of putative pain generating mechanisms, may predict patient response to treatment.
Identification of new targets will inform and guide future research, aiding the development of more effective analgesics. Future clinical trial designs should implement sensory phenotyping of patients, as an inclusion or stratification criterion, in order to establish an individualized, mechanism-based treatment of osteoarthritis pain.
- [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]