Arthritis therapies 'ineffective'
Publication: BBC News
Most complementary therapies used by people with rheumatoid arthritis are not effective, a
study has suggested.
The Arthritis Research Campaign looked at the scientific evidence available for over 40
Two thirds of treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and a fifth of treatments for osteoarthritis
were found to be ineffective by the researchers.
The Arthritis Research Campaign said it wanted people who used the therapies to know
what evidence was available.
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by inflammation of the lining (synovium) of the joints.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of protective tissue called cartilage in the joints.
Inflammation results when the unprotected bones of the joint begin to rub together.
It most commonly affects the joints of the fingers, knees, hips, and spine.
In total, 60% of people with arthritis are thought to use some form of complementary
The researchers looked at compounds taken by the mouth or applied to the skin.
Effectiveness is measured by improvements in pain, movement or general well-being.
When the researchers examined treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, they found 13 out of
21 complementary medicines were shown to have no or little effect based on the available
The 13 were: antler velvet powder, blackcurrant seed oil, collagen, eazmov (a herbal
mixture), feverfew (herb), flaxseed oil, green-lipped mussels, homeopathy, reumalex herbal
mixture, selenium, the Chinese herb tong luo kai bi, vitamins A, C and E, and willow bark.
However, fish body oil was given five out of five in the report, for being effective in reducing
joint pain and stiffness.
In addition, six out of 27 treatments for osteoarthritis were shown to have little or no effect
based on the available evidence
Capsaicin gel, made from chilli peppers, proved most effective in relieving pain and joint