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Osteoarthritis and Pentosan Polysulphate

Osteoarthritis and Pentosan Polysulphate

Aug 24, 2023

If you own a dog or a horse or even a cat you may have heard the words ‘Pentosan’, ‘Cartrophen’, ‘Zydax’ or ‘Synovan’. All of these medications are the same drug, Pentosan Polysulphate.

Pentosan Polysulphate is a semi-synthetic polysaccharide with a xylan backbone. Xylan is actually derived from plant cell walls from hardwood trees but what does it actually do? Well to answer this we first need to understand what happens in osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease which affects all structures within the joint. These include cartilage, bone, ligaments and the synovium. In osteoarthritis these structures degenerate and this coincides with an inflammatory response. This disease is also characterised by a failure of the repair of damaged cartilage due to biochemical and biomechanical changes within the joint itself. Pentosan Polysulphate works in a number of ways:

- It has anti-inflammatory activity

- It prevents the migration of neutrophils (an inflammatory white blood cell) into the joint.

- It stimulates hylauronic acid synthesis which increases the volume and viscosity of the synovial fluid

- Fibrinolytic activity which improves circulation to subchondral bone and structures around the cartilage.


Essentially this means that Pentosan Polysulphate reduces inflammation in the joint, improves the cushioning within the joint and helps increase blood flow to the joint structures.


So now we know why we use it, how do we use it?

Pentosan Polysulphate is given beginning with a loading course of one injection every 5-7 days for 4 doses. Following this a monthly injection is required to maintain effects in the body. If the clinical signs of osteoarthritis begin to return when on the monthly injections the loading course can safely be repeated.


If you are interested in trying your pet or horse on Pentosan please make an appointment with one of our friendly vets on 08 8318 1801.