Skip to content

Osteoarthritis Health Center

Jury Still Out on Use of Supplements to Treat Arthritis

Font Size
A
A
A

continued...

The good news for consumers is that at least one such study has already been initiated. In September 1999, the National Institutes of Health funded a study to investigate the efficacy and safety of glucosamine and chondroitin for the treatment of OA in the knee. Researchers are expected to begin recruiting patients for the 16-week study later this year.

In the meantime, what is a patient who suffers from the side effects of prescription anti-inflammatory drugs to do?

"I recommend that they take [the supplements] for a minimum of 12 weeks to see if they're going to have a therapeutic effect," says Marc Hochberg, MD, MPH, a professor and chairman of rheumatology at the University of Maryland.

But then there still is that potential downside. Because dietary supplements are not regulated to the same degree as prescription drugs, "when you go into the store, you're not sure what you're getting," Hochberg says.

Vital Information:

  • Supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin may be beneficial in treating osteoarthritis, although previous studies sponsored by manufacturers may have overstated their efficacy.
  • Researchers are still uncertain about the side effects of these supplements or how they compare to approved prescription medications.
  • Osteoarthritis patients who suffer side effects from their medication can try glucosamine and chondroitin for a minimum of 12 weeks to determine whether the supplements work for them, one expert says.
1 | 2

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
SLIDESHOW
Chronic Pain Healthcheck
HEALTH CHECK
 
close up of man with gut
Article
man knee support
Article
 
woman with cold compress
QUIZ
Man doing tai chi
Article
 
hand gripping green rubber ball
Slideshow
person walking with assistance
Slideshow