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Eggshell Extracts May Help Relieve OA Symptoms

The extracts from eggshell membrane may improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, according to a new study. The randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo- controlled trial found that a 500-mg daily supplement of the eggshell membrane reduced joint pain and stiffness, with results in only 10 days—as described in a recent issue of Clinical Rheumatology.

Patients with OA were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups— a group that received 500 mg of the natural eggshell membrane (NEM; a supplement that contains glycosaminoglycans and proteins) (n = 34) or placebo (n = 33) daily for 8 weeks. The primary end point was the change in overall Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) OA Index as well as pain, stiffness, and function WOMAC subscales measured at 10, 30, and 60 days. The participants receiving supplementation with NEM, according to researchers, experienced a “relatively rapid response for all WOMAC scores,” compared with placebo; both joint pain and stiffness were reduced.


TENS Not Number 1 for OA


Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), where an electric current is applied to the skin at the joint to stimulate the nerves to attempt to relieve pain, is still not proven to reduce pain or physical disability in osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, despite 20 years of research. A Cochrane Systematic Review was conducted for electrostimulation trials in OA.

The authors reviewed 18 small trials that included 813 patients in total. In terms of physical disability, 29 of 100 patients who received TENS treatment responded to treatment, compared with 26 of 100 participants who received mock TENS treatment or received their usual treatments. No difference was found in pain relief or the number of individuals who dropped out because of adverse effects. Lead author Anne Rutjes of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern, Switzerland, concluded that larger, better quality trials are needed to shed some light on the effectiveness of TENS as a treatment for OA.


Plant Extract Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The results of a recent study show that Pycnogenol, a natural antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, has effective anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties, which can help various health problems, including arthritis. The study, published in International Immunopharmacology, found that Pycnogenol inhibits the generation of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX), 2 enzymes that are linked with a range of inflammatory conditions.

For the study, Dr. Raffaella Canali of the National Research Institute on Food and Nutrition in Rome, Italy, investigated volunteers between the ages of 35 and 50 who took 150-mg tablets of Pycnogenol for 5 consecutive days. Upon proinflammatory stimulation, a baseline study showed that the patients’ immune cells quickly initiated production of COX-2, 5-LOX, and 5-lipoxygenase activating protein enzymes—taking Pycnogenol nearly entirely subdued the induction of these enzymes in the immune cells of participants.


Self-Management of Arthritis in Older Adults

Reporting results of their ongoing study into self-management of arthritis in older adults, Gail Davis, RN, EdD, and Terri White, RN, PhD, FNP-C, both of Texas Woman’s University, have identified tools and telling statistics that can aid health care professionals in their efforts to help patients with arthritis. The complete article was published online October 19, 2009, at http://hcplive.com.

Davis and White have identified an important barrier to treatment. Because this population ranges in age from 66 to 93 and most live in retirement communities, lack of access is a major obstacle to seniors receiving education about arthritis management.

This underscores the important role pharmacists play in educating patients about self-management strategies and eliminating patients’ reservations about medications—not taking them for fear of negative side effects, not wanting to add another pill to their daily regimen, and not being sure of the safety of drug combinations. ■



FAST FACT:
Medical care for patients with osteoarthritis costs the United States approximately $185.5 billion annually.



For pharmacist-recommended Pain Relief products for arthritis, visit: www.OTCGuide.net/pain_relief.