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Study Suggests Glucosamine Won't Ease Hip Arthritis
Date:2/18/2008

one. However, no studies had been done looking specifically at glucosamine's usefulness for arthritis of the hip, according to Rozendaal.

This double-blind randomized study included 222 people who had mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the hip. For two years, half the group took 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine daily and the other half took a placebo.

Pain and function levels were measured at the start of the study, and again every three months for two years. X-rays of the affected joint were taken at the start and end of the study to see if there was any improvement.

At the end of the study, the researchers found no evidence that glucosamine had any effect on pain or function, and they saw no improvement in the X-rays for people taking glucosamine. The researchers also conducted a small subgroup analysis on people with more severe arthritis, and found no benefit for this group either.

But an industry expert said the study contained what he called a "glaring error:" many of the patients had very low levels of daily pain.

"In other words, they don't have much room for improvement," said Dr. Jason Theodosakis, a consultant for the supplements industry and an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson.

"Patients with arthritis who have small amounts of pain -- not significant enough to inhibit sleeping, daily activities or work -- do fine without treatment. This is exemplified by the fact that only 19 percent of those in the placebo group were using daily medications," Theodosakis added. "I don't think conclusions should be drawn from the study."

Bijlsma agreed that the verdict is still out on glucosamine's effectiveness. Some studies have found that glucosamine is effective for knee arthritis, he noted, and because there are no good treatment options available for people with arthritis, Bijlsma said that taking glucosamine should remain an option for patient
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