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Devil's claw as effective as drug in relieving osteoarthritis pain

A new clinical study adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the use of devil's claw root (Hapagophytum procumbens)in osteoarthritis. The double-blind, randomized trial concluded that devil's claw root was as effective in relieving pain as and safer than diacerhein (a type of drug known as a symptomatic slow-acting drug for osteoarthritis, or SYSADOA). The study participants (122 people with active osteoarthritis of the hip or knee) were randomly assigned to take either six 435 mg capsules of devil's claw powdered extract plus two placebo capsules, or two 50 mg capsules of diacerhein plus six placebo capsules for four months. Results showed that the two treatments were equally effective in relieving spontaneous pain. However, by the end of the study, significantly fewer people in the devil's claw group needed to take additional analgesics for "rescue" pain relief. The frequency of side effects was also significantly lower among people in the devil's claw group. The most commonly reported adverse effect was diarrhea, reported by 8.1% of the devil's claw group and 26.7% of those who took diacerhein. The devil's claw used in the study was a French product marketed under the trade name Harpadol®. Chantre P, Cappelaere A, Leblan D, et al. Efficacy and tolerance of Harpagophytum procumbens versus diacerhein in treatment of osteoarthritis. Phytomedicine 2000; 7(3): 177-183.

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