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Collagen Treatment for Arthritis Holds Appeal

Group with rheumatoid arthritis had reductions in stiffness, swollen joints; side effects relatively mild

MONDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Oral administration of chicken type II collagen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis resulted in decreased pain and morning stiffness and other beneficial outcomes, according to research published in the July 15 Arthritis Care & Research.

Ling-Ling Zhang, M.D., of the Anhui Medical University in Hefei, China, and colleagues analyzed data from 236 adults with rheumatoid arthritis who were randomized to receive either chicken type II collagen (CCII) or methotrexate for 24 weeks. Efficacy variables included pain, stiffness, swollen and tender joint counts, and functional status.

Both groups showed significant reductions in pain, morning stiffness, and tender and swollen joint counts. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein didn't significantly decrease in the collagen group but did in the methotrexate group. Side effects were fewer and milder in the collagen group, with gastrointestinal symptoms the most common adverse event.

"Overall, treatment of autoimmune diseases by induction of oral tolerance is appealing because of the few side effects and easy clinical implementation of this approach. This MTX (methotrexate)-controlled, multicenter, 24-week trial in patients with RA confirms that CCII is a safe and generally well-tolerated therapy. The results of the study partly support the mechanism of oral tolerance. These data will provide a basis for more effective application of oral tolerance induction in patients with RA," the authors write.

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