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Health Agencies Update
January 17, 2001

Dietary Supplements for Arthritis?

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JAMA. 2001;285(3):284. doi:10.1001/jama.285.3.284-JHA00014-2-1

A $14-million study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disease is under way to determine whether the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin help reduce osteoarthritis (OA)-related pain. Although only a handful of relatively small studies examining the substances' safety and effectiveness have been published to date, glucosamine and chondroitin (which are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration because they are classified as nutritional supplements, not drugs) are widely marketed as "natural remedies" for OA. The 24-week study—the Gluccosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT)—will enroll nearly 1600 patients at 13 clinical centers to determine the efficacy of the two substances, alone and in combination, compared with placebo or a conventional arthritis treatment (celecoxib) in relieving OA-related knee pain.

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