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Research says supplements do not work for osteoarthritis The popular supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin, are not effective for the pain of osteoarthritis of the hip or knee according to a new analysis of the current research. Researchers in Switzerland analysed the results of 10 published trials involving 3,803 people with knee or hip osteoarthritis. They found that compared with placebo, glucosamine, chondroitin and their combination do not reduce joint pain or have an impact on the narrowing of joint space. ‘While the findings confirm an effect for glucosamine, the authors contend that the effect is so small as to not be worth having this treatment,’ said Dr Fraser Birrell of Arthritis Care’s clinical and medical advisory board. ‘The important thing for people with arthritis is to recognise that glucosamine and chondroitin preparations are well tolerated and unlikely to do any harm, so if they find benefit from them and they don’t cost too much, then they should continue taking them.’

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The research on glucosamine and chondroitin has been conflicting. A large-scale review of studies – called a metaanalysis – was therefore needed to determine whether or not the supplements work. The study was published in the British Medical Journal. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) does not recommend prescription of glucosamine or chondroitin on the NHS, although recognises that many people with arthritis take these preparations over the counter. Jo Cumming, Arthritis Care’s helplines manager, said: ‘The meta-analysis brings together all the relevant trials and we would support more research in this area. Our helplines and our forums get a lot of responses from people with arthritis who feel that glucosamine is helpful in managing their pain. ‘However, it is important to remember that what works well for one individual, may not work for another. We’d urge anyone who is concerned about this to contact our free Helpline on 0808 800 4050 or email Helplines@arthritiscare.org.uk

Profile for The IOCP

Podiatry Review November/December 2010  

Vol 67 No 6

Podiatry Review November/December 2010  

Vol 67 No 6

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