This article aims to review osteoarthritis of the hand and the role of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) naproxen on its management. We discuss the chemical and pharmacological properties of naproxen and the NSAID class, with an emphasis on its mechanism and adverse reactions. In the context of part I of this paper in characterizing hand osteoarthritis (OA), we review clinical trials that have been conducted involving hand OA and naproxen.
The therapeutic effect of NSAIDs stems from its role on inhibiting cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-1 or COX-2 enzyme activity in the body. These enzymes play a major role in maintaining several functions in the body and due NSAIDs' inhibitory effects; many principle adverse reactions occur with the use of NSAIDs such as: gastrointestinal tract issues, cardiovascular risks, renal, hepatic, central nervous system and cutaneous. Review of clinical trials involving naproxen and hand OA show that it is significantly more efficacious when compared with placebo.
These studies, along with the finding that naproxen is of least cardiovascular risk in the NSAID class, may show that it can be part of one of the approaches in managing the condition. It is important to note that the optimal NSAID to use varies for each individual. The finding that the use of naproxen leads to the smallest increase in cardiovascular risk appeals to those at-risk individuals who suffer from OA and require pharmacological treatment for relief.