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A recent study to test the feasibility of running a randomised controlled trial of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for post-menopausal women with hand osteoarthritis, has produced positive results. The HOPE-e feasibility study paves the way for researchers to design a full trial.

A women with hand osteoarthritis rubs her hands together

Hand osteoarthritis affects 40% of people over their lifetime and for many it causes high levels of pain and reduced quality of life. It is more common in women and there is a noticeable rise in cases around the age of 50 years, one theory being that the oestrogen deficiency around the time of the menopause fuels the onset or progression of the symptoms associated with the condition.

However, no trials of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have yet been done in osteoarthritis so researchers at NDORMS set out to see if a randomised controlled trial would be feasible.

'The aims of the study were to test whether women would want to join a study like this, refine how we would run a full trial and generate important proof of concept data. This was a small randomised clinical trial using a particular type of HRT to treat painful hand osteoarthritis in post-menopausal women,' said Trial Manager, Jenny Williams. 'It wasn't designed to test for a clinical effect, but the insights we gained from this study suggest that a full trial would be feasible.'

Read the full story on the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences website.