Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Osteoarthritis Health Center

Font Size

Alternative Treatments for Arthritis

Experts look at the pros and cons of alternative arthritis therapies.

Sticking It to Arthritis Pain continued...

A number of studies have looked at acupuncture in the two most common types of arthritis --OA and RA. The most recent review article involved 3,498 people with OA in 16 trials and found that acupuncture was superior to sham acupuncture for short-term improvements in pain and function, but that the benefits were pretty small.

"There is currently insufficient research to determine which arthritis patients benefit most from acupuncture," says review author Eric Manheimer, MS, a research associate at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. "Future research may be important to try to identify the optimal candidate for acupuncture on the basis of individual beliefs, expectations, and psychological profile."

Pisetsky's verdict: Give acupuncture a shot. "It may provide some temporary pain relief but does not change the course of the illness," Pisetsky says. "If you think it is beneficial, try it."

Helpful, Healthy Supplements?

Glucosamine and chondroitin are popular nutritional supplements that have been widely studied for their effectiveness in treating arthritis. While many people with arthritis and doctors stand by the supplements, the studies have not been all that kind. The latest research -- an analysis of 10 studies -- showed that glucosamine and chondroitin don't do much to relieve the pain associated with hip or knee OA, or modify the disease process once it has started.

This is not the first study to cast doubt on the effectiveness of these two supplements. The Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) also showed that these supplements did not improve knee OA pain. A follow-up arm showed that they did not do any better than placebo in slowing loss of cartilage that occurs in knee OA. That said, a smaller subset of 354 GAIT participants with moderate-to-severe OA pain did get some relief with the combined supplements. (These findings need to be confirmed in larger studies.)

Pisetsky says that it is OK to give these supplements a try.

"If you want to take them and perceive a benefit, that's fine, but tell your doctor," he says. All herbs and supplements may have unknown and potentially dangerous interactions with medication. If you're taking medication, it's best to check with your doctor before trying any supplements.

Today on WebMD

elderly hands
Even with arthritis pain.
woman exercising
Here are 7 easy tips.
acupuncture needles in woman's back
How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
chronic pain
Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
Keep Joints Healthy
Chronic Pain Healthcheck
close up of man with gut
man knee support
woman with cold compress
Man doing tai chi
hand gripping green rubber ball
person walking with assistance