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Does glucosamine help in osteoarthritis?

Q: I want to know whether glucosamine sulphate (Tab. Cartilamine) really helps in reforming cartilage in moderate osteoarthritis of knee?

A:Legally, Glucosamine (sold under various brand names including Cartilamine) is not a medicine but a nutritional supplement. Therefore it has never been subjected to stringent regulatory review on efficacy and safety in any advanced country. It can be sold over the counter (OTC) without doctors prescription. A large study by US National Institute of Health (NIH) is in progress and its results will be available in March 2005. At that stage I may be able to offer comments. There is some evidence that glucosamine slows deterioration in joints which is different from saying that it repairs the cartilage. If you take the product the dose should be 500mg three times daily for no more than 12 weeks; if there is no improvement one should seek alternative treatment. It should be avoided by diabetics. Scientifically, we recommend paracetamol (e.g. Crocin) 500-1000mg thrice daily as the first line treatment. If it does not give adequate pain relief, one can use long acting diclofenac with/without paracetamol (e.g. Fenaplus).

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