knee Injuries. sport woman with strong athletic legs holding kne

Chronic knee pain from osteoarthritis (OA) can significantly impair your daily life, turning simple activities into painful struggles. When walking, climbing stairs, or standing for extended periods becomes difficult, many of those affected experience significant stress as they attempt to manage their condition, while others simply suffer in silence.

However, recent advances in medical treatment have significantly improved options for pain relief, restoring function, and overall prognosis in patients struggling with osteoarthritis. At Chicago Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine, we’re excited to offer a potent new tool in your fight against knee OA pain: Semaglutide.

What is Semaglutide?

Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, a medication originally used to treat type 2 diabetes. But its uses now appear to extend beyond that initial intention.

  • In recent years, exciting progress has been made when using semaglutide to aid healthy and sustainable weight loss.
  • Research from the STEP 9 study, reported at the World Congress on Osteoarthritis, has discovered additional benefits: Semaglutide has shown promising results in both reducing pain and improving joint function in individuals with knee OA and obesity.

How Can Semaglutide Help Knee OA?

The exact mechanism by which semaglutide benefits knee OA requires further study, but initial results show great promise:

  • A mean change in knee pain, which was assessed using the WOMAC criteria for pain scoring, demonstrated a reduction of 41.7 points for semaglutide and a decrease of 27.5 points for a matching placebo. This is a statistically meaningful difference, hinting at even more successes to come.
  • In the same study, weight loss statistics showed reductions of “13.7% and 3.2% from baseline, with an estimated 10.5% greater weight loss with semaglutide.”

Some of the news isn’t surprising: Obesity is a major risk factor for knee OA, and since semaglutide promotes weight loss by regulating appetite and blood sugar levels, its potential to reduce pressure on your knee joints is fairly well understood.

Other benefits, however, show untapped potential:

  • Use of pain medication, such as acetaminophen, dropped significantly in those analyzed, and that finding was maintained throughout the entirety of the study.
  • The study’s investigator, Henning Bliddal, MD, is intrigued by whether or not “there’s a specific action of GLP-1 receptor agonists on the joint, not through weight loss but by itself.”
  • In addition to pain and weight reduction, those studied also had improved WOMAC physical function scores from baseline. With semaglutide coming in at 5 points and placebo at 26.7, this represents a major estimated treatment difference of -14.9%.

Given the findings and relevant context, it’s possible that semaglutide may have anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce inflammation in the knee joint, a key contributor to pain.

Other findings have also suggested that semaglutide might play a role in protecting, or potentially even promoting, cartilage health, bolstering the cushioning tissue within your knee joint.

Is Semaglutide Right for You?

At Chicago Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine, we offer a personalized approach, taking the time to solicit your input and feedback before we commence treatment. During a consultation, our specialists will:

  • Discuss your medical history and current knee OA symptoms.
  • Perform a comprehensive physical examination of your knee.
  • Review your options, including other therapies.

While there’s more work required to determine the full range of benefits and use cases for semaglutide and knee pain, new findings about its potential to aid with knee OA are truly exciting. We look forward to seeing more excellent outcomes in studies to come!