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Rose-hip may help rheumatoid arthritis
July 02 2007
Hamburg - Rose-hips
may provide an effective alternative treatment for
sufferers of crippling rheumatoid arthritis, according to new research
by scientists in Germany and Denmark.
Severely affected patients already being treated
conventional drugs experienced significant improvement after taking
capsules of rose-hip powder for six months, a pilot study showed.
Experts now want to conduct more extensive trials
which could form the basis of new clinical guidelines.
Scientists said the rose-hip remedy, called LitoZin,
future help reduce spending by health-care services on expensive new
rheumatoid arthritis drugs.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful and
debilitating auto-immune disease which affects millions of people
It occurs when the immune system attacks the joints,
causing swelling and damage to cartilage and bone.
Traditional treatments, such as the
disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) methotrexate, have only
Newer medicines, including TNF Alpha inhibitors and
"smart" drugs targeting different parts of the immune system, are now
becoming available, but are so costly it is questionable how many
patients will receive them.
Treating just one patient with anti-TNF drugs, which
act on a particular signalling molecule, costs up to $25 000 a year.
LitoZin, made from processed ground rose-hips, is
used by patients with osteo-arthritis, a less serious condition caused
by general wear and tear of the joints.
One month's supply of the supplement retails
over-the-counter for less than $30.
The new research was prompted by RA sufferers who
claimed they had also been helped by the product.
who conducted the trial in
Copenhagen and Berlin said they were surprised by the results, since RA
is a far more serious and challenging disease than osteo-arthritis.
A total of 89 mostly
female patients with an average
age of 57 were recruited, all seriously affected by RA which they had
suffered for more than 18 years. Of these, 74 stayed in the trial for
the full six months.
were randomly assigned to a group taking
LitoZin on top of their regular medication. The remaining 41 were given
a "dummy" capsule containing no active ingredients.
patients were asked to fill in standard
questionnaires used to assess pain, and the ability to carry out
everyday tasks such as dressing, washing, opening doors, and cutting
months, activity levels improved by 20 to 25
percent for those taking LitoZin. The number of joints causing them
pain and discomfort fell by 40 per cent, but did not change for
patients treated conventionally without the rose-hip supplement.
overall tenderness of painful joints was
significantly reduced in patients given the supplement, and quality of
life greatly improved.
Stefan Willich, from the Charite University
Medical Centre in Berlin, who co-led the study, said: "I think we were
all surprised to see such meaningful results. Rheumatoid arthritis is
one of the most difficult medical conditions I'm aware of. It's a tough
disease, which makes it all the more remarkable to find such beneficial
effects from this natural remedy.
like to see larger long-term trials, perhaps
of several hundred patients. If these studies confirm what we have
found, then I think we could be talking about clinical guidelines."
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