Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Glucosamine and Chondroitin- the Latest Research!

Okay, on the list of drugs to keep in your medicine cabinet, there are two you might want to remove...unless YOU feel relief from them. For years, doctors have been recommending glucosamine and chondroitin for relief of the aches and pains associated with arthritis. A large meta-analysis was recently published in the British Medical Journal entitled Effects of glucosamine, chondroitin, or placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of hip or knee: network meta-analysis. The study evaluated nearly 4000 patients, across ten separate trials.The questions were whether or not these medications provided (A) pain relief and/or (B) any improvement in narrowing of joint space (that is part of the visible decline in arthritic joints, as seen on xray.)

Unfortunately, neither end point was observed. As such, the recommendations from this study are that doctors not encourage patients to try these medications, and that health insurers should not cover the cost of these drugs.
On the flip side, the study recognized that there were no dangerous side effects of glucosamine or chondroitin, so if patients subjectively feel they are getting relief, the use of these drugs need not be discouraged.

BOTTOM LINE: The latest evidence shows that glucosamine and chondroitin do NOT improve pain from hip and knee arthritis, nor do they delay progression of disease.

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