Structural formula of diacerein
Ball-and-stick model of the diacerein molecule
Clinical data
Other namesDiacetylrhein; Diacerhein; 2-Anthracenecarboxylic acid, 4,5-bis(acetyloxy)-9,10-dihydro-9,10-dioxo-; 2-Anthroic acid, 9,10-dihydro-4,5-dihydroxy-9,10-dioxo-, diacetate; 9,10-Dihydro-4,5-dihydroxy-9,10-dioxo-2-anthroic acid, diacetate
AHFS/Drugs.comInternational Drug Names
  • Lacking information
Routes of
ATC code
Pharmacokinetic data
Protein binding99%
MetabolismHepatic: deacetylation to rhein, later glucuronidation and sulfate conjugation
Elimination half-life4 to 5 hours
ExcretionRenal (30%)
  • 4,5-diacetyloxy-9,10-dioxo-anthracene-2-
    carboxylic acid
CAS Number
PubChem CID
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
ECHA InfoCard100.033.904 Edit this at Wikidata
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass368.297 g·mol−1
3D model (JSmol)
Solubility in waterPractically insoluble in water 0.01 mg/mL (20 °C)
  • O=C(Oc3cccc2C(=O)c1cc(cc(OC(=O)C)c1C(=O)c23)C(=O)O)C
  • InChI=1S/C19H12O8/c1-8(20)26-13-5-3-4-11-15(13)18(23)16-12(17(11)22)6-10(19(24)25)7-14(16)27-9(2)21/h3-7H,1-2H3,(H,24,25) checkY

Diacerein (INN), also known as diacetylrhein, is a slow-acting medicine of the class anthraquinone used to treat joint diseases such as osteoarthritis (swelling and pain in the joints).[1] It works by inhibiting interleukin-1 beta. An updated 2014 Cochrane review found diacerein had a small beneficial effect on pain.[2] Diacerein-containing medications are registered in some European Union and Asian countries and included as a treatment option on several international therapeutic guidelines.


Diacerein works by blocking the actions of interleukin-1 beta, a protein involved in the inflammation and destruction of cartilage that plays a role in the development of symptoms of degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis. Due to its specific mode of action, which does not involve the inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis, diacerein has been shown to have anti-osteoarthritis and cartilage stimulating properties in vitro and animal models.

Side effects

The most common side effects of diacerein treatment are gastrointestinal symptoms including soft stools and diarrhea.[3] These are generally mild to moderate and occur more frequently in the first 2 weeks, and lessen with continued treatment. Based on review by European Medicines Agency (EMA), diacerein-containing medicines use is restricted due to severe diarrhoea and liver disorders in patients.[4][5]

An uncommon side effect is hepatic adverse events (most frequently reported as liver function test abnormalities). These have been described as mild/moderate cases of elevated liver enzymes in the blood.

Mild skin reactions (rash, pruritus and eczema) have also been reported with diacerein treatment.

Discoloration of urine (yellow or pink) is another side effect of diacerein. This effect is due to the elimination of rhein metabolites via the urine and no clinical significance has been found; it may also be dependent on general fluid intake.

Special warning

In 2014 the European Medicines Agency (EMA’s) Pharmacovigilance and Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) performed a review of diacerein-containing medicines over concerns about its gastrointestinal and liver effects. As a result, the PRAC has introduced additional proposals to manage diacerein’s risks and was satisfied that with new restrictions diacerein’s benefit on pain outweighs the side effects for osteoarthritis treatment.[6] The following recommendations have been made around the use of diacerein:

The PRAC concluded that the benefit-risk balance of diacerein-containing medicinal products remained favourable in the symptomatic treatment osteoarthritis, subject to the agreed changes to the product information and conditions.

Dosage and administration

The recommended starting dose is 50 mg once daily with evening meal for the first 2 to 4 weeks of treatment, after which the recommended daily dose is 50 mg twice daily.[6]

The treatment should be taken with food, one with breakfast and the other with evening meal. The capsules must be swallowed intact, without opening them, together with a glass of water.

See also


  1. ^ Gouvas H (2011). Use of Sodium Hyaluronate in the treatment of Osteoarthritis. Greece.
  2. ^ Fidelix TS, Macedo CR, Maxwell LJ, Fernandes Moça Trevisani V (February 2014). "Diacerein for osteoarthritis". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2): CD005117. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005117.pub3. PMID 24515444.
  3. ^ Pavelka K, Bruyere O, Cooper C, et al. Diacerein: Benefits, Risks and Place in the Management of Osteoarthritis. An Opinion-Based Report from the ESCEO. Drugs & Aging 2016;33:75-85
  4. ^ Panova E, Jones G (March 2015). "Benefit-risk assessment of diacerein in the treatment of osteoarthritis". Drug Safety. 38 (3): 245–52. doi:10.1007/s40264-015-0266-z. PMID 25652235. S2CID 13880003.
  5. ^ Fidelix TS, Macedo CR, Maxwell LJ, Fernandes Moça Trevisani V (February 2014). "Diacerein for osteoarthritis". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2): CD005117. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005117.pub3. PMID 24515444.
  6. ^ a b "Diacerein-containing medicines for oral administration". 2018-09-17.