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Selenium trials for rheumatoid arthritis

This review article identified three complete reports of RCTs of selenium treatment in rheumatoid arthritis. The number of participants included in the trials ranged from 40–70 and the trials lasted from three to six months. The active treatment in all trials was selenium capsules (200 μg per day in two trials and 256 μg per day in one trial). The control group in all trials was made up of participants on placebo capsules.

  • In the first trial (40 participants over six months), there was no significant difference between those who were given selenium or placebo in all aspects of disease severity, including pain, morning stiffness and number of swollen joints.
  • In the second trial‡ (55 people over three months), there was no significant difference between participants taking selenium or placebo in pain reduction, morning stiffness and number of swollen joints. Participants on selenium had better arm movement and a perception of better general health.
  • The third trial (70 people over three months) found that there was no significant difference between participants who were on selenium or placebo in terms of pain reduction, morning stiffness, number of swollen joints and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use.

‡ A trial of low quality. Results of this trial were given a lower weighting when we came to our conclusion about the compound.


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