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Nortriptyline in Knee Arthritis - NortIKA 

logo - NortIKA study

The Nortika study is a trial assessing the pain killing effect of a medicine (nortriptyline) for people with knee arthritis.

More information about the study

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a very common and painful condition. The medicines currently available for treating OA pain are not ideal: they are either inadequately effective or cause unpleasant or dangerous side effects.

Recent research has shown how the brain processes pain in OA and this has opened up the possibility of using different types of medicines for OA pain.

Nortriptyline (an antidepressant) has been used to treat persistent pain in other conditions, and other antidepressants may reduce pain in knee OA. It is not known whether nortriptyline is useful in this condition.

We are testing this effect by randomly allocating participants to treatment with nortriptyline or placebo and to measure changes in their pain before and after a period on the medication. We hope that this will tell us whether nortriptyline will be helpful. If it is, then we believe that many people may benefit from taking this medicine.

Participants will take study medication for 14 weeks. At the end of this time they will be told whether they were taking nortriptyline or placebo. 

We have now reached our target of 200 participants and this research will be completed in 2018. We are planning to make the study findings available to the public on our website in October 2018.

The study team

Principal Investigator

Dr Ben Hudson, Dept General Practice, UOC


Prof Les Toop, Dept General Practice, UOC
Dr John Alchin, Pain Management Clinic, CDHB
Dr Jonathan Williman, Dept of Population, UOC
Prof Lisa Stamp, Dept Medicine, UOC
Prof Gary Hooper, Orthopaedic Surgery & Musculoskeletal Medicine, UOC
Prof Dee Mangin, Dept General Practice, UOC
Dr Bronwyn Thompson, Orthopaedic Surgery & Musculoskeletal Medicine, UOC

Research Nurses

Gwyneth Steenson  
Rae Noble-Adams

Research Administrator

Alison Parsons


Hudson, B., Williman, J. A., Stamp, L. K., Alchin, J. S., Hooper, G. J., Mangin, D., Thompson, B. F., Toop, L. (2015). Nortriptyline in knee osteoarthritis (NortIKA Study): Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 16, 448. doi: 10.1186/s13063-015-0961-1


This study is funded with a project grant from the Health Research Council