Managing osteoarthritis: What you don’t know is hurting you

(BPT) – Twenty-seven million Americans suffer every day from chronic discomfort and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There have been limited advancements in osteoarthritis therapies, leaving patients with fewer options and worsening symptoms. Because daily activities can be such a struggle, doctors and patients have increasingly turned to synthetic pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids (narcotics).

What many people may not know is that long-term use of NSAIDs and opioids can have dangerous side effects. NSAIDs come with serious warning labels and carry even greater risk for people with kidney, stomach or heart conditions. Prescription opioid use — and resulting deaths — have quadrupled over the last 20 years, according to the CDC. People using opioids are also at risk for heart issues, addiction, falls and other accidents due to extreme drowsiness.

“Osteoarthritis patients just want to be able to get through their day, but opioids (narcotics) and NSAIDs should not be a first choice for chronic disease management; we need to explore other options,” says Dr. Dean Mariano, director of the Spine and Pain Institute at MidState Medical Center in Connecticut and chairman of the Connecticut State Medical Society’s Task Force on Opioids.

There are safer options to manage OA symptoms, but many are underutilized due to lack of knowledge and insurance coverage issues. One of these options is prescription medical foods, a class of medicines recognized by the FDA and developed from powerful, natural molecules. What makes a medical food?

* The ingredients in medical foods have been designated “Generally Recognized as Safe” (G.R.A.S.) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

* Medical foods must be intended for the distinctive nutritional requirements of a chronic disease or condition.

* Medical foods require physician supervision.

“In our practice, many patients are surprised to learn about the role natural prescription medical foods can play in managing osteoarthritis,” Dr. Mariano says. “We create individualized plans that include positive lifestyle changes, medical foods such as Limbrel, and a common-sense approach to using traditional pain relievers where necessary and appropriate.”

Limbrel is a prescription medical food proven safe and effective for long-term osteoarthritis management. It contains two highly concentrated and purified flavonoids that work by balancing multiple inflammatory pathways in the body, which causes significantly fewer side effects. Flavonoids are natural molecules found in foods like green tea, dark chocolate, and certain fruits and vegetables. Learn more about medical foods for osteoarthritis at

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