..The mean change between baseline and week 6 on VAS-reported finger pain was −21·5 (SD 21·7) in the prednisolone group and −5·2 (24·3) in the placebo group, with a mean between-group difference (of prednisolone vs placebo) of −16·5 (95% CI −26·1 to −6·9; p=0·0007). The number of non-serious adverse events was similar between the groups.
Five serious adverse events were reported during our study: one serious adverse event in the prednisolone group (a myocardial infarction) and four serious adverse events in the placebo group (an infected traumatic leg haematoma that required surgery, bowel surgery, atrial fibrillation that required a pacemaker implantation, and symptomatic uterine myomas that required a hysterectomy). Four (4%) patients discontinued the study because of an adverse event: one (2%) patient receiving prednisolone (for a myocardial infarction) and three (7%) patients receiving placebo (for surgery of the bowel and for an infected leg haematoma and for Lyme disease arthritis of the knee).
Treatment with 10 mg prednisolone for 6 weeks is efficacious and safe for the treatment of patients with painful hand osteoarthritis and signs of inflammation. The results of our study provide clinicians with a new short-term treatment option for patients with hand osteoarthritis who report a flare-up of their disease.