- A prospective cohort study nixes a link between β-blockers and pain reduction in patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (KOA).
Why this matters
- Small randomised controlled trials previously suggest that β-blockers are associated with improved analgesia in other pain conditions.
- Multicentre prospective longitudinal observational study of symptomatic KOA in at least 1 knee (n=1168; Kellgren-Lawrence grade ≥2 with frequent pain).
- β-blocker users were compared with other antihypertensive users (e.g., calcium channel blockers, diuretics) for pain reduction.
- β-blocker and other medications usage was confirmed by direct examination by study personnel.
- Funding: NIH; Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; GlaxoSmithKline; Pfizer, Inc.
- 15% of cohort reported β-blocker use; 33% reported other antihypertensive users.
- On Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC pain scores; range, 0-20 with higher numbers indicative of worse pain), no differences were found between β-blocker users (5.2; 95% CI, 4.7-5.8) and other antihypertensive users (4.9 [95% CI, 4.6-5.2]; within-person difference of 0.1 [95% CI, −0.3 to 0.4]).
- No differences between β-blocker users and users of other antihypertensives in:
- proportion reporting widespread joint pain (pain affecting both sides of the body above and below the waist), and
- proportion with reported use of strong prescription pain medication.
- Observational design.