Recent research suggests the drug called spironolacton could provide a breakthrough in the treatment of osteoarthritis for people with aching, ageing joints.

It is believed spironolactone suppresses a hormone called aldosterone, which has also been linked to inflammation in the joints, a daily reported.

It is also thought that the drug boosts cortisol, a hormone which reduces the body's sensitivity to pain.

Osteoarthritis usually develops with age as cartilage, nature's "shock absorber", is worn down in major joints including the hips, knees and wrists.

Scientists at Dundee University turned to spironolactone, in their hunt for a safer, cheaper painkiller, the report said.

After an initial study highlighted the drug's painkilling powers, scientists are now setting up a larger trial to assess its full potential.

(Agencies)

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