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A Boost for Pain Relief

Glucosamine increases ibuprofen's ability to ease aches

FRIDAY, Jan. 16, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The nutritional supplement glucosamine helps increase the pain-relieving power of ibuprofen, according to a Temple University study.

This combination may let patients take lower doses of ibuoprofen to get the same amount of pain relief with fewer side effects.

Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body. A synthetic version is used to treat osteoarthritis, a painful, degenerative joint disorder. While glucosamine is believed to prevent and repair bone and cartilage damage, it hasn't yet been proven to block pain.

In this study, the Temple researchers confirmed that glucosamine on its own does not block pain. The researchers believe that any pain relief offered by glucosamine is a side effect of its ability to repair damage to bone and cartilage.

They also tested glucosamine in combination with a variety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to determine if glucosamine improved the drugs' ability to relieve pain. They found that glucosamine did increase the pain-relieving powers of ibuprofen.

"The next step will be to study this drug combination in clinical trials to see whether it can enhance pain relief or offer pain relief using a lower dose of ibuprofen and therefore a lower risk of side effects," researcher Alan Cowan says in a prepared statement.

The study appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about glucosamine.

SOURCE: Temple University, news release, January 2004
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