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Study Finds Chondroitin Not Beneficial for Arthritis Pain

Pooled analysis indicates no increased risk of adverse events

TUESDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- A pooled analysis of well-designed trials examining the use of chondroitin to treat osteoarthritis pain has shown that chondroitin has no clear benefit but does not increase the risk of adverse events, according to a study in the April 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Peter Juni, M.D., from the University of Bern, Switzerland, and colleagues identified and performed a meta-analysis of 20 clinical trials involving 3,846 patients examining the effect of chondroitin on pain in osteoarthritis.

The researchers found that the trials tended to be heterogeneous, and small trials, those with poor allocation concealment, and those not analyzed based on intent-to-treat principles showed a greater benefit of chondroitin. An analysis of three trials with large sample sizes and an intent-to-treat analysis showed no clear benefit of chondroitin. An analysis of 12 trials showed that chondroitin did not increase the risk of adverse events.

"Large-scale, methodologically sound trials indicate that the symptomatic benefit of chondroitin is minimal or nonexistent," Juni and colleagues concluded. "Use of chondroitin in routine clinical practice should therefore be discouraged."

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