Study Information

Hand Osteoarthritis: investigating Pain Effects in a randomised placebo-controlled feasibility study of estrogen-containing therapy (HOPE-e)

Background: Hand OA affects approximately 2 million people in the UK. The most common symptoms are hand pain, stiffness and functional difficulties, affecting grip and the ability to perform small tasks. Hand OA is much more common in women around the time of the menopause, and there is some evidence that a lack of estrogen at this time may be one of the reasons for this. As yet there are limited evidence based treatments for hand OA, particularly of the small joints (interphalangeal), where pain-relief and exercise is often inadequate.

The HOPE-e study will test whether taking a tablet of an estrogen-containing therapy once daily for 6 months improves hand pain in women with hand OA, when compared with taking a placebo tablet (inactive medication). 


We invited women aged 40-65, who were at least 1 year after menopause, and were experiencing hand pain due to osteoarthritis, to take part in this study.

What did the study involve?

There were a total of 7 'study appointments'. Other than one initial face-to-face clinic visit, it was possible for all study appointments to be carried out by telephone (and sending questionnaires by post).