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Study at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center investigates effectiveness of two popular dietary supplements to improve symptoms of osteoarthritis

LOS ANGELES (January 17, 2001) -- Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center are now enrolling patients in a large multi-center clinical trial to determine whether two popular dietary supplements - glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate - reduce the knee pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA). The disease causes pain, deformity and enlargement of the joints and is diagnosed in almost twice as many women as men.

"This study is the first and largest of its kind to evaluate whether these popular supplements actually work to alleviate knee pain in people afflicted with this disease," said Michael Weisman, M.D., Principal Investigator and Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Marketed as dietary supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been widely reported as effective alternative treatments for arthritis. For the last two decades, the supplements have been used extensively in Europe to treat OA. Glucosamine is a substance in the body that helps to form cartilage. Chondroitin sulfate is part of a large protein molecule that gives cartilage its elasticity. Both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are believed to play a role in cartilage maintenance and repair.

To date, however, only a few small studies have examined the effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to reduce OA knee pain. The majority of these studies were conducted in Europe and reported that the compounds relieved pain just as well as simple analgesic drugs such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen. But both acetaminophen and NSAIDs provide only minimal improvement in joint pain and function. Moreover, when used over the long-term, NSAIDs have been found to increase the risk of peptic ulcer perforations, hemorrhaging, hospitalization and death in patients 65-years of age or older.

"Given the limitations of these drugs, patients often ask us about the safety and e
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Contact: Kelli Stauning
kelli.stauning@cshs.org
310-423-3674
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
16-Jan-2001


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