Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition mainly characterized by cartilage degradation. Currently, no effective treatment exists to slow down the progression of OA-related cartilage damage. Selective COX-2 inhibitors may, next to their pain killing properties, act chondroprotective in vivo. To determine whether the route of administration is important for the efficacy of the chondroprotective properties of selective COX-2 inhibitors, a systematic review was performed according to the PRISMA guidelines. Studies investigating OA-related cartilage damage of selective COX-2 inhibitors in vivo were included. Nine of the fourteen preclinical studies demonstrated chondroprotective effects of selective COX-2 inhibitors using systemic administration. Five clinical studies were included and, although in general non-randomized, failed to demonstrate chondroprotective actions of oral selective COX-2 inhibitors. All of the four preclinical studies using bolus intra-articular injections demonstrated chondroprotective actions, while one of the three preclinical studies using a slow release system demonstrated chondroprotective actions. Despite the limited evidence in clinical studies that have used the oral administration route, there seems to be a preclinical basis for considering selective COX-2 inhibitors as disease modifying osteoarthritis drugs when used intra-articularly. Intra-articularly injected selective COX-2 inhibitors may hold the potential to provide chondroprotective effects in vivo in clinical studies.

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International journal of molecular sciences
Department of Orthopaedics

Timur, U.T., Caron, M., Jeuken, R.M., Bastiaansen-Jenniskens, Y., Welting, T., van Rhijn, L., … Emans, P. (2020). Chondroprotective actions of selective COX-2 inhibitors in vivo: A systematic review. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(18), 1–15. doi:10.3390/ijms21186962