Popular arthritis drugs shown ineffective

Feb. 23, 2006 at 10:52 AM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Two widely used drugs for arthritis pain have been found to be ineffective in soothing the ache of arthritic knees, a federal study says.

The Nutrition Business Journal says people in the United States spent an estimated $734 million on glucosamine and chondroitin in 2004, which makes them among the most widely used dietary supplements in the nation. Produced by several companies, they often are sold together in combination treatment.

The 24-week study tested 1,583 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who were randomly assigned to one of five groups, the New York Times reported. Some patients took glucosamine, others chondroitin and some took both. Others took a placebo or celecoxib, sold as Celebrex, a prescription drug that is approved for osteoarthritis.

No effect was found for glucosamine or chondroitin. But, patients who took celecoxib had a statistically significant improvement in symptoms, the report said.

The study on glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate was published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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