Should I try JointEase Plus?
Q) I've received a leaflet advertising the latest 'natural' product for the treatment of arthritis. It's called JointEase Plus and is a formulation of various vitamins, minerals, plant extracts and herbs. I have osteoarthritis in both knees and hips and my GP has given me a six-week course of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), but she's unwilling to prescribe it continually, and the only alternatives she suggests are buprenomorphine patches, which I'm not yet ready for, or a possible hip operation, which I'm not keen on at the age of 84. I'm wondering whether to rely on paracetamol and this 'natural' treatment. My GP is sceptical. I should be grateful for your more specialised opinion.
Jayne K Mudd, Orpington, Kent (Summer 2010)
A) JointEase Plus is a mixture of vitamins, minerals, plant extracts and herbs. However, the ‘key’ ingredients are quoted to be glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM. They're probably harmless and only have mild anti-inflammatory benefit, if any. There's no harm in trying them, along with paracetamol. They'll only harm your wallet (unless you are allergic to shellfish). In addition, try to keep as active as you can. And have a word with your doctor about those NSAIDs. The benefits in your case may outweigh the potential harm.