Voltaren Gel Approved for Osteoarthritis

First topical prescription treatment for the joint disease

MONDAY, Oct. 22, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Voltaren Gel to treat osteoarthritis, maker Novartis AG said Monday.

It's the first prescription topical treatment for osteoarthritis that can be applied directly to the site of pain, the company said in a statement. In clinical testing, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) showed a 51 percent reduction in pain in both the knees and joints of the hands with minimal absorption of the drug by the body, minimizing side effects.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition characterized by breakdown of joint cartilage. Some 21 million people in the United States have the condition, and 72 million more may be at risk of developing OA by the year 2030, Novartis said.

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