By Kirby Spencer
Millions of Australians suffering from pain could be set to find relief, after scientists discovered a new drug to help cure osteoarthritis.
The medication, called Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium, is being hailed as a breakthrough to those suffering from the degenerative disorder, the Herald Sun reports.
And by helping remove or delay the need for hip and knee replacements, it is also expected to save the Australian government more than $1.2billion, reports Daily Mail.
Osteoarthritis is a illness that causes a person pain when the cartilage in bones begins to wear thin.
It is also leading cause of hip and knee replacement surgery, according to The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
But a new study, to be published in the BioMed Central's Journal of Musculoskeletal Disorders shows a 70 per cent reduction in pain using the new medication.
The drug was reportedly discovered by Australian scientist Professor Peter Ghosh and Australian company Paradigm Biopharma and could help eliminate the need for up to 75,000 surgeries.
Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium has been prescribed by doctors for years, however it is usually used to treat blood clots and urinary tract infections.
Australian scientist Dr Jegan Krishnan helped discover the new use for the drug and said it could work by looking at the cause of osteoarthritis.
"It may have anti-inflammatory activities, it seems addressing the bone marrow lesions gives symptomatic relief," he said.
Osteoarthritis affects approximately one in eleven Australians and usually is discovered in the hands, spine, hips, knees and ankles.
It can impact a person's independence, social life, work and relationships, with more than 100,000 hospitalisations for the disorder in 2014-2015.