1. Section Editor(s): Pfeifer, Gail M. MA, RN

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No benefit from glucosamine and chondroitin for joint pain. These over-the-counter supplements don't reduce joint pain or narrow joint space in patients with osteoarthritis of the hips and knees, according to a meta-analysis of 10 clinical trials involving a total of 3,803 patients. The report appears in the September 16 issue of BMJ. Both substances are components of cartilage and are purported to restore lost cartilage in arthritic joints. Patients who believe the supplements are beneficial, say the study authors, are likely experiencing the placebo effect or natural fluctuations in osteoarthritis symptoms. Although the authors see no harm in using these supplements, they don't recommend payment for glucosamine and chondroitin treatments by health insurers.