Condition category
Musculoskeletal Diseases
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Prospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Not provided at time of registration

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Prof Gerd - R. Burmester


Contact details

Charité - University of Medicine
Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology
Charitéplatz 1

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number

2011 05 30-1

Study information

Scientific title

Prospective, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in patients with inflammatory osteoarthritis (OA) of the hands


OA Treat

Study hypothesis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a heterogeneous group of conditions with a disturbed integrity of articular cartilage and changes in the underlying bone. The pathogenesis of OA is multifactorial and involves a complex interplay of genetic, metabolic, biochemical, and biomechanical factors with variable components of inflammation. The disease, as one of the most prevalent musculoskeletal diseases, leads to pain in and around the affected joints and to swelling, stiffness, deformity, and gradual loss of function. It is not just a disease of elderly people, but also affects the younger working age population. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) that in clinical practice is also used for inflammatory OA and has been employed for the treatment of various rheumatic and dermatologic diseases. Current research has further enhanced our understanding of the pharmacologic mechanisms of action of these drugs involving inhibition of endosomal toll - like receptor (TLR) signalling, which limits B cells and dendritic cell activation. Three studies of HCQ in OA, including one abstract and one letter are available. Most studies show that currently a wide variety of outcome measures are used in rather small patient populations.

Despite initial indications for a good effect of HCQ, there has been no randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial in a larger patient group. In the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) evidence based recommendations for the management of hand OA HCQ was not included as a therapeutic option, apparently because of the currently missing randomized clinical trials. The aim of the proposed study is to investigate the efficacy of HCQ by clinical and radiological outcome compared to placebo in patients with severe and refractory inflammatory hand OA.

Ethics approval

Approval pending as of 11/05/2011

Study design

Interventional randomised placebo-controlled double-blind multicentre study

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet


Refractory inflammatory hand osteoarthritis


Arm 1:
1. Capsules body weight adapted to pharmaceutical package (30 - 49 kg one capsule with 200 mg HCQ as daily single dose
2. 50 – 64 kg one capsule with 200 mg HCQ as single dose on day 1 and two capsules with 200 mg HCQ as single dose on day 2
3. > 65 kg two capsules with 200 mg HCQ as single dose

Arm 2:
One capsule with oral placebo application characteristics

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measures

1. Australian-Canadian OA Index (AUSCAN, German version) for pain, and hand disability as co-primary clinical outcome at week 52
2. Radiographic co-primary endpoint: Radiographic progression assessed by the Kallman Score at week 52

Secondary outcome measures

1. Efficacy of HCQ with respect to AUSCAN at week 26 to patient’s global assessment of disease activity, patient’s assessment of stiffness, and physician’s global assessment of disease activity at week 26, 52
2. To compare pain, functioning, disability, quality of life, patient-acceptable symptoms and health (HAQ, SF-36, SACRAH, FiHOA, AUSCAN, Backman score, etc.) week 0, 26, 52
3. To assess and to compare the inflammatory status using the following parameters: joint pain and joint swelling, night pain, morning stiffness, local erythema/redness, CRP - and ESR - levels from baseline to week 26, 52
4. To compare cumulative dosage of consumption per week of standard therapy (NSAIDs, COXibs)
5. Assessment of safety: Safety and tolerability of HCQ with reports on adverse event (AE) and serious advere event (SAE)
6. The eye examination will be performed by an ophthalmologist (baseline and every 6 months)

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Men and women from 40 to 80 years
2. Presence of clinical hand OA according to American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria
3. Conforming to the ACR criteria for hand OA with recent X ray, dating less than 6 months ago, X ray of the hands showing radiological signs of digital OA in one or more joints as defined by grades 2 or higher, per Kellgren and Lawrence scale or alternatively using the Kallman method or alternativly using the Verbruggen Score;
4. Symptomatic digital OA with more than three finger joints for more than 3 months (at least every other day) despite taking analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
5. Pain above 35 mm as evaluated by the Australian/Canadian Osteoarthritis Hand Index (AUSCAN) -Visual Analogue Scale( VAS) (0 - 100 mm)
6. Function as co-primary clinical outcome with ≥ 9 using the AUSCAN LK function subscale, or ≥ 225 F (out of maximum of 800) on the AUSCAN VA function subscale

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

1. Patients who have already been treated with HCQ
2. Existence of painful syndrome of upper limbs likely to interfere with the monitoring of pain
3. Patients suffering or having suffered from secondary OA after one of the following diseases (e.g. infectious arthritis, acromegaly, ochronosis, haemochromatosis, gout, etc.) or inflammatory joint diseases
4. Any unstable medical condition which would put the patient at an unacceptable risk
5. Planned Surgery
6. Local injection with glucocorticoids or other medications within the previous three months
7. Oral glucocorticoids
8. Presence of retinopathy

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

Charité - University of Medicine, Berlin

Sponsor information


Charité - University of Medicine, Berlin (Germany)

Sponsor details

c/o Prof. Gerd-R. Burmester
Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology
Charitéplatz 1
+49 (0)30 450 513 061

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium Fur Bildung und Forschung [BMBF]) (Germany)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Results - basic reporting

Publication summary

2014 protocol in:

Publication citations

  1. Protocol

    Detert J, Klaus P, Listing J, Höhne-Zimmer V, Braun T, Wassenberg S, Rau R, Buttgereit F, Burmester GR, Hydroxychloroquine in patients with inflammatory and erosive osteoarthritis of the hands (OA TREAT): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial., Trials, 2014, 15, 1, 412, doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-15-412.

Additional files

Editorial Notes