Glucosamine for Arthritis Pain by Jeffrey Dach M.D.

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Jan 21, 2007, 3:25:38 PM1/21/07
to arthritis-pain
Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Arthritis Pain by Jeffrey Dach M.D.

For an example of yet another distortion in the mass media regarding
issues of health, drugs and medical care, look at the reports of the
NIH GAIT study which examined nutritional supplements for arthritis
pain. As usual, the media got the story wrong. Rather than being
ineffective, as the media concluded about glucosamine and chondroitin
for knee pain, the NIH GAIT study actually showed the opposite. What
the study really showed is that in patients with moderate-to-severe
knee-pain, the combination of the two supplements (glucosamine and
chondroitin) was more effective than both Celebrex and a placebo. The
glucosamine-chondroitin combination significantly reduced pain in 79
percent of those who received it. Celebrex significantly reduced pain
in 69 percent of the recipients and the placebo in 54 percent.

The real conclusion is that regarding patients with moderate to severe
knee pain, the less costly glucosamine and chondroitin combination is
more effective than Celebrex. The media stories also fail to mention
the fact that Glucosamine and Chondroitin have no adverse side effects,
while Celebrex causes gastric bleeding, ulceration and death. This is
an important distinction. Celebrex is a NSAID pain pill. NSAID drugs
are similar to aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. It has been estimated
conservatively that 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur among patients
with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis every year in the United

On 4/20/99, The Wall Street Journal reported that celecoxib (Celebrex)
has been linked to 10 deaths and 11 cases of gastrointestinal
hemorrhages. Five of the 10 who died suffered from gastrointestinal
bleeding or ulcers.

On December 17, 2004 Pfizer publicly announced that patients who are
taking Celebrex may have an elevated risk of suffering heart attack and
stroke. The National Cancer Institute designed a study to research the
effects of Celebrex on cancer. This Pfizer-sponsored study was
suspended after preliminary evidence showed that clinical trial
patients who were taking 400 to 800 milligrams of Celebrex were two and
a half times more likely to suffer from heart attack or cardiovascular
stroke than patients in the control group.

A study published in the British Medical Journal reports that COX-2
selective painkillers (Like Celebrex and Vioxx) are no safer on your
stomach than traditional painkillers. When COX-2 selective
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were introduced to the
market, their makers claimed these drugs were as effective as
traditional painkillers, but much safer on the stomach. Older NSAIDs,
such as Aleve and Naproxen, have long been linked to gastrointestinal
side effects like ulcers and bleeding. New findings suggest COX-2 drugs
are just as dangerous as older drugs. "Are selective COX 2 inhibitors
superior to traditional non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs?" BMJ

More information about Celebrex Recall:

The following are the references for the estimated annual death rate
from NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including aspirin,
ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, ketoprofen, and tiaprofenic acid.) How
many of these deaths are due to Celebrex vs. the others NSAIDs? Compare
this number of deaths to ZERO deaths from glucosamine and chondroitin.

Each year, there are an estimated 103,000 hospitalizations and 16,500
deaths in the United States attributed to complications from
NSAID-associated gastric ulcers.

Wolfe M, Lichtenstein R, Singh G. Gastrointestinal toxicity of
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. N Engl J Med 1999;340:1888-1899.

(1996): "Each year, use of NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory
Drugs) accounts for an estimated 7,600 deaths and 76,000
hospitalizations in the United States." (NSAIDs include aspirin,
ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, ketoprofen, and tiaprofenic acid.)

Unnecessary Prescribing of NSAIDs and the Management of NSAID-Related
Gastropathy in Medical Practice Robyn Tamblyn, PhD; Laeora Berkson,
15 September 1997 | Volume 127 Issue 6 | Pages 429-438

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: overall risks and management.
Complementary roles for COX-2 inhibitors and proton pump inhibitors C J
Hawkey, M J S Langman (drdash drdoch drdesk drdach jeff jeffrey dach)
Gut 2003;52:600-608

According to Senate testimony by Dr. David Graham, associate director
for science and medicine in the FDA's Office of Drug Safety, as many
as 55,000 patients may have died as a result of taking Vioxx.

The entire point of the above is to demonstrate the safety profile of
glucosamine and chondroitin as compared to the dangers of NSAIDS.


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