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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Arthritis Treatment
August 2001

Q. I recently heard about MSM as a treatment for arthritis. What is it and where can I get it? Is it safe to take even if liver problems exist? What treatments do you recommend?

A. I tried looking up the MSM compound in several medical references and it's hard to find much written. Chemically it is related to DMSO which was popular more than 10 years ago, although never got approval for use in humans. There were reports suggesting temporary relief of muscle and joint pains from DMSO, which was also applied directly to the skin, but concerns for toxic effects prevented it from gaining FDA approval.

Although MSM can be bought without prescription, that doesn't guarantee safety for human useage. There are several examples of similar substances being sold as supplements rather than drugs, which later were associated with severe consequences in humans.

So caution is advised. I would suggest you call or write the marketing company and request research articles as to its effectiveness and safety.

Many effective treatments are available for arthritis, and your doctor can guide you as to treatment options.\par

http://arthritis.org/Answers/disease_center.asp

http://www.nih.gov/niams/healthinfo/arthpain.htm

http://www.nih.gov/niams/healthinfo/artrheu.html

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