ASMI says National Pain Week puts the spotlight on arthritic pain

22 July 2014

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22 July 2014 - The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said that National Pain Week (21-27 July) puts the spotlight on arthritis, Australia's major cause of disability and pain. Nearly one in five Australians has arthritis and most people diagnosed with arthritis are of working age. It costs the economy about $23.9 billion a year and has immense emotional and social costs. 1

Steve Scarff, ASMI Director Regulatory and Scientific Affairs said: "Osteoarthritis takes a great toll in Australia in terms of the chronic pain suffered by people with it and the level of disability it causes. People aged 18 and over with osteoarthritis are 3.5 times as likely to report very severe pain (5%) compared with those without the condition (1.4%). 3

"Osteoarthritis can impact on every aspect of life, including an individual's ability to be independent, their social life, relationships and emotional wellbeing. As osteoarthritis progresses, the capacity to participate fully in the workforce declines, with many people being forced to retire early. This generally occurs gradually and mainly affects those aged 50 years or older. 4 According to the 2011-12 National Health Survey, people aged 15-64 with osteoarthritis were 1.2 times as likely as those without the condition not to be in the work force.

"Complementary medicines have a role to play in the management of osteoarthritic pain. There is good evidence to support the use of glucosamine and chondroitin for managing arthritic joints. Two recent studies of glucosamine and chondroitin revealed the combination has a protective effect against structural disease progression in osteoarthritis of the knee. 5,6,7

"Some people find that glucosamine and chondroitin help to relieve the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis especially osteoarthritis of the knee. Some studies claim these products may help by repairing damaged cartilage, reducing inflammation and preventing joint damage by oxidants.8

"Many Australians have already decided it is worthwhile taking glucosamine, with more than one in five adults over 45 years of age reporting that they take it. 9
"Given the growing evidence about dietary supplementation and osteoarthritis, consumers are encouraged to talk to a qualified healthcare professional who can advise them whether a supplement could be beneficial in the management of osteoarthritis," said Mr Scarff.

About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak body representing sponsors of non-prescription medicines - over-the-counter (OTC) and complementary medicines. Its members make up 85 per cent of the $4bn self care market. Membership totals 60 companies and ASMI members employ approximately 18,000 people with exports estimated at $1.2 billion annually. ASMI's mission is to promote better health through responsible self care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy (

1. Arthritis Australia website.
2. Cross M, Smith E, Hoy D, Nolte S, Ackerman I, Fransen M, et al. The global burden of hip and knee osteoarthritis: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2014; In press
3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Health Survey 2011-12.
4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Arthritis, Osteoporosis and other Musculoskeletal conditions.
5. Zhang W, Moskovitz R, Nuki G et al. "OARSI recommendations for the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis, Part II: OARSI evidence-based, expert consensus guidelines." Osteoarthritis & Cartilage 2008;16:137-162.
6. Martel-Pelletier J, Roubille C, Abram F, et al. First-line analysis of the effects of treatment on progression of structural changes in knee osteoarthritis over 24 months: data from the osteoarthritis initiative progression cohort. Ann Rheum Dis 2013; Dec 13 doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-203906.
7. NPS MedicineWise: Glucosamine & chondroitin: new evidence of joint protection
Published in Health News and Evidence, Date published: 07 March 2014.
8. Wandel S, Juni P, Tendal B, Nuesch E, Villiger PM, Welton NJ, et al. Effects of glucosamine, chondroitin, or placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of hip or knee: network meta-analysis. BMJ. 2010 Sep 16;341:c4675. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c4675.
9. Sibbritt D, Adams J, Lui CW, et al. Who uses glucosamine and why? A study of 266,848 Australians aged 45 years and older. PLoS One 2012;7:e41540. [PubMed]

For more information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
Marie Kelly-Davies
PR Manager, Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)
P: 9923 9410 M:0408 256 381 E: