Today’s post is from pharmacist and SBP contributor Avicenna. Here’s his bio and his prior posts.
As a community pharmacist, I’m frequently asked about over-the-counter (OTC) and natural health products (NHPs) for the treatment of different chronic conditions. This consultation can be complicated by a reluctance for consumers to seek a physician’s advice (and a diagnosis) before beginning therapy. As a partner in the health care system it’s important to give both credible, science-based advice, while ensuring a patient’s primary care physician is aware of the consultation and recommendations.
Arthritis pain is a common complaint, and I’m regularly asked about glucosamine, and sometimes chondroitin (which it is often co-packaged with). As is true for most natural products, glucosamine’s popularity is not related to persuasive clinical evidence. Rather it seems to be secondary to perceptions of efficacy, driven by personal experience, anecdotes and persuasive marketing. However, unlike many other supplements, glucosamine has been extensively studied in clinical trials, and is at least plausible as a pain reliever for conditions affecting joint articulations, such as osteoarthritis (OA). The evidence, unfortunately, is largely contradictory, and on balance, disappointing. Continue reading
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