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Glucosamine, Chondroitin Do Not Relieve Arthritis Pain - Study

September 18, 2010: 11:49 PM EST

A multinational team of researchers has found that two supplements used by consumers to ease joint pain are in fact ineffective. Glucosamine and chondroitin, taken either on their own or in combination, are used by millions to ease pain caused by osteoarthritis in hips and knees. Global sales of glucosamine neared $2 billion in 2008, a 60 percent increase since 2003. According to the researchers, the supplements are not dangerous, but because they don’t work, "health authorities and health insurers should not cover the costs for these preparations.” The researchers analyzed the results of 10 published trials involving 3,803 patients, assessing pain levels after patients took a placebo or the supplements alone or in combination. No clinically relevant effect on perceived joint pain or on joint space narrowing was found.

Simon Wandel, Peter Jüni, Britta Tendal, Eveline Nüesch, Peter M Villiger, Nicky J Welton, Stephan Reichenbach and Sven Trelle, "Effects of glucosamine, chondroitin, or placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of hip or knee: network meta-analysis", BMJ Publishing Group Ltd., September 18, 2010, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
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