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Update on arthritis treatments - 2003


Update on arthritis treatments - 2003

A couple of months ago we gave a summary of what’s new in a feature called

PAIN - THE TAKE AWAYS.  As Arthritis Care Week approaches (21st-27th April 2003), we add stop-press news about protecting joints and bones.


Relieving knee pain

Paracetamol no, glucosamine yes seems to be the latest conclusion in terms of pain relief.  Paracetamol is widely recommended as first-line pain-relief treatment for hip and knee as an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID). Now a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that it just doesn’t work for knees. 

A group of 82 patients with knee osteoarthritis were given paracetamol or NSAID or a dummy pill over a period of 12 weeks. The NSAID worked, and the others didn’t. Plans for further research are in the pipeline.


Glucosamine, in a report from Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin, did considerably better.  A daily dose of 1500mg was shown to help relieve pain from osteoarthritis and cartilege damage. And a second report in The British Journal of Sports Medicine confirms the finding. A dose of 2000mg daily given to 26 patients and compared with a placebo showed 88% in the glucosamine group reporting improvement at 12 weeks and better life quality compared to 17% in the placebo group. (Yes, the powers of persuasion without actual drug therapy are sometimes surprisingly effective, though not usually long-term.)

Collagen hydrolysate can help maintain healthy and pain free joints and bones according to a recent report from US rheumatologist, Professor Roland Moskowitz.  Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, making up 33 per cent of total body protein. It is found predominantly in bone, cartilage (joints), muscles and other connective tissue. Collagen hydrolysate is a form of gelatine, broken down by a natural process (hydrolysis) to allow easy absorption into the blood stream.

Professor Moskowitz, at Case Western Reserve University, headed an international study on osteoarthritis, including almost 400 patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee in 20 hospitals in the USA, the UK and Germany. In Germany, 93 per cent of patients produced extremely positive results. Even after a period of only 2 months, the patients receiving the collagen hydrolysate preparation had considerably less pain and showed improved mobility.

In another study of 52 patients with knee or hip osteoarthritis, Professor Milan Adam of the Rheumatism Research Centre, Prague, found that those on collagen hydrolysate suffered less pain and had less need for painkillers. Improved mobility was also demonstrated, especially in those with hip osteoarthritis.

Two collagen hydrolysate supplements are available mail order from health supplement manufacturer, Arthro Vite. One is Activ Vite and the other is Collagen Plus.  Both are orange-flavour drinks, and contain the recommended daily amount of collagen hydrolysate, based on the research. They are suitable for all age groups. Collagen Plus contains in addition, 1000mg glucosamine sulphate and 800mg of chondroitin sulphate. To order, visit the online shop at

These nutritional supplements have no known adverse side effects and can improve the condition of hair, nails and skin as well as joints.  It is always a good idea to discuss using alternative treatments with your doctor or medical adviser. 


“In November 1999 I had surgery for a knee problem and was told I had worn out my cartilage and would never run again. Last year, I represented Wales at the International Cross Country Championships and achieved first place in my age group in 5k, 10k, 10m and half marathon races.”

Annie Conroy, Le Croupiers Running Club, Cardiff

Long distance runner Annie Conroy, 55, is keeping up with some of Europe’s leading athletes thanks to collagen hydrolysate.

Annie, and German sports stars such as triathlete Astrid Benöhr and weight-lifter Oliver Caruso, are among a growing number of people benefiting from the health    properties of the natural gelatine supplement which can help in combating pain and rebuilding cartilage damaged through excessive wear and tear – the tell-tale signs of osteoarthritis.

“When I was younger I did a lot of dancing and the strain on my knees eventually took its toll. Twelve years of serious running didn’t help. I tore the cartilage in one knee and recovered from that, but my other knee then began to give me trouble,” Annie explains.

“After being on the waiting list for three years, I finally had surgery but was told I should never run again – the cartilage was completely worn away. It was bone on bone and they were talking about knee replacements.

“I immediately started a three month course of Collagen Plus after reading about it in a magazine and am now back running and experiencing less pain than in the previous five years.”

Annie has managed new personal bests over most distances in the last 12 months and has represented Wales twice in the International Veteran Cross Country Championship.   



laterlife interest

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also regular columns of a more specialist nature such as healthwise, reports from the REACH files, and a beauty section called looking good in later life.

Also don't forget to take a look at our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT by IT trainer and author Jackie Sherman.

To view the latest articles and indexes to previous articles click on laterlife interest here or above.  To search for articles about a certain topic, use the site search feature below.



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