Over the counter (OTC) oral remedies for arthritis and rheumatism: How effective are they?

Whitehouse, M. W., Roberts, M. S. and Brooks, P. M. (1999) Over the counter (OTC) oral remedies for arthritis and rheumatism: How effective are they?. Inflammopharmacology, 7 2: 89-105. doi:10.1007/BF02918382

Author Whitehouse, M. W.
Roberts, M. S.
Brooks, P. M.
Title Over the counter (OTC) oral remedies for arthritis and rheumatism: How effective are they?
Journal name Inflammopharmacology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0925-4692
Publication date 1999-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/BF02918382
Volume 7
Issue 2
Start page 89
End page 105
Total pages 17
Place of publication Basel, Switzerland
Publisher Birkhäuser Basel
Collection year 1999
Language eng
Subject C1
321215 Health Care Administration
730301 Health education and promotion
Formatted abstract
Background: Increasingly patients resort to alternative remedies for arthritis and rheumatism, perhaps partly impelled by reports of toxicities from prescribed non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). There is uncertainty about whether the most common alternative treatments provide relief or may cause adverse reactions.

Aim: To ascertain the validity of manufacturers’ claims permitted by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia for a range of self-medication products to treat the pain and inflammation of arthritis, available in local pharmacies, supermarkets or by mail order and in other countries.

Methods: OTC products were administered orally to rats in standard assays for suppressing experimental arthritis and fever and for determining potential gastrotoxicity.

Results: The three NSAIDs available OTC were efficacious but gastrotoxic. Of the 37 herbal formulations examined, seven were as effective as ibuprofen in the anti-arthritic assay without causing gastric bleeding. Five of the 10 animal-sourced products tested were also effective without evident toxicity. Within a certain class of product, e.g. celery seed extracts or dried mussel preparations, efficacies ranged from almost zero to highly effective.

Conclusions: Consumers currently have no guide to the likely efficacy of TGA-approved remedies. Quality control is urgently needed to justify the veracity of TGA-permitted and other claims on product labels.
© VSP 1999.
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Created: Tue, 10 Jun 2008, 15:21:28 EST