Osteoarthritis is a significant public health problem and is rapidly increasing in prevalence with the aging population. Pain is the most disabling consequence of osteoarthritis. Treatment for pain is inadequate and needs to be addressed with new therapeutic modalities. Chronic pain is often the result of peripheral and central pain sensitization which reduces the pain threshold and increases the perceived pain response to noxious and even non-noxious stimuli. Neurotoxins can reduce this sensitization by various mechanisms and are a fertile area of research for the treatment of chronic pain. Botulinum toxins, vanilloids, and conotoxin have all been studied for the treatment of chronic pain. Botulinum toxins and vanilloids have the greatest potential as analgesics for chronic joint pain thus far. Monoclonal antibodies directed against nerve growth factor have also been developed for the treatment of chronic joint pain due to osteoarthritis. These antibodies are not technically neurotoxins but have significant analgesic potential. However, they may have undesirable side effects and are still being evaluated as possible therapies for chronic osteoarthritis pain.
Part of the book: From Conventional to Innovative Approaches for Pain Treatment