Topical olive oil is a good pain reliever compared with piroxicam gel in treating knee osteoarthritis in early patient testing, according to study results.
Though knee pain decreased in both patient groups (n=58) during the 4-week pilot study in Ardabil, Iran, the effect was more pronounced in the olive oil group (n=28) and showed superiority in weeks 2, 3 and 4, researchers wrote. The mean change on the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain subscale for the olive oil group was –7.48 (4.43; P<.001) between baseline and week 4, while the piroxicam gel group had a mean change of –2.73 (3.71; P<.001) during the same time period.
Regarding the WOMAC physical subscale, olive oil remained superior in weeks 2, 3 and 4 compared with piroxicam gel. There were no significant differences in the groups for age, height, weight and WOMAC subscales at baseline.
“It is likely that the presence of several types of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents is responsible for any effect of the virgin olive oil,” researchers wrote. “ … the exact mechanism of the virgin olive oil remains to be addressed and requires further study.”