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Glucosamine & Chondroitin for P-Arthritis?
from Mary Ellen Q.

A friend has recommended taking Glucosamine & Chondroitin, an over-the-counter food supplement. She says that it cured her arthritis and carpel tunnel syndrome and that it has worked for other members of her family and friends with various arthritic conditions. I have severe PA and wonder if anyone has tried it. I have tried just about everything and don't want to take methotrexate. -Mary Ellen Q.


Ed’s Response: It appears from the abundance of material on these supplements that a dissertation is possible and a PhD in order for putting it together. I recommend you go to Ed Anderson’s "Skin Page" and use some or all of the 28 search engines congregated there to find references to either or both of these compounds. In just scratching the surface, I came up with this article citation in an NIH database (read the field labeled "Abstract (AB)"):

Subfile: Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease
Format (FM): JOURNAL ARTICLE (24).
Language(s) (LG): English.
Year Published (YR): 1999.
Audience code (AC): HEALTH PROFESSIONALS (100).
Author (AU): Walsh D'Eprio, N.
Source (SO): Patient Care. 33(12): 17-18,28. July 15, 1999.
Abstract (AB): This journal article provides health professionals with information on the efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin in treating osteoarthritis (OA). A book published in 1997 touted the medical miracle of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements in treating OA. Both conventional and alternative clinicians are taking another look at these supplements, and the National Institutes of Health is organizing a large, randomized trial that may provide some definitive answers on their efficacy in treating OA. These substances, which are naturally produced in the body, are structural components of cartilage. The rationale for using glucosamine is that increasing the amount of available glucosamine would improve the ratio of cartilage repair to degradation. Studies have investigated the use of oral glucosamine versus placebo, intramuscular glucosamine versus placebo, and oral glucosamine versus ibuprofen. Results suggest that glucosamine may provide some therapeutic benefits for patients with OA. Although the Arthritis Foundation continues to advocate using the American College of Rheumatology treatment guidelines for OA, it now offers advice to patients considering the use of glucosamine. 9 references.
Major Descriptors (MJ): Osteoarthritis. Pain. Clinical Trials. Medical Effectiveness. Alternative Medicine. Glucosamine. Chondroitin.
Minor Descriptors (MN): NSAID. Cartilage. Quality of Life.
Verification/Update Date (VE): 199910.
Notes (NT): CP: Yes.
Accession Number (AN): ARS015821.

For the time being, Mary Ellen, it appears G&C are a question mark. Many people are trying them and reporting positive results. Keep your doc or derm informed if you plan to try it yourself. -Ed

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