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Are supplements helpful in osteoarthritis?

Q: This is regarding my 64 years old mother, diagnosed with grade 2 osteoarthritis. Her weight is 75 kgs and height is 5.2. She has been advised Lubrijoint for 3 months and now decerein-IL-1. How effective is IL-1 for osteoarthritis and is it absolutely indicated besides exercise, hot water fomentation and knee straps? Does hot water fomentation with Epsom salt and Sea baths help? Is glucosamine with MSN helpful? I am confused as to what should be the exact protocol for her because I don't want to pump her with unnecessary drugs as she is also on thyroxine, inhalers (for asthma) and atorvastatin, aspirin and rabeprazole.

A:Treating pain in patients of osteoarthritis (OA) is always a difficult problem; more so if the patient is over weight. For a height of 155 cm, your mother is overweight which is not helping matters at all. The knee joint is simply not capable of carrying the weight. Glucosamine has no role in the management of pain in OA. Still worse it increases blood lipids, can lead to vision disorders, peripheral oedema (accumulation of water), liver disorder etc. Since legally it is not a medicine but a supplement, there are no restrictions on unverified claims made by manufacturers. The patient is already taking too many medicines; adding more will be counterproductive. If the pain is intolerable, the patient can take paracetamol (Crocin) - 2 tablets at a time for short durations or diclofenac with paracetamol (such as Fenaplus). Rest during exacerbations, use of walking aids, physiotherapy are other options. Finally TKR (total knee replacement) is the long term solution if the patient is fit enough to undergo surgery.


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