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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 528403, 12 pages
Original Article

Meta-Analysis of the Related Nutritional Supplements Dimethyl Sulfoxide and Methylsulfonylmethane in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee

1Department of Primary Medical Care, University of Southampton, Aldermoor Health Centre, Aldermoor Close, Southampton, Hampshire, SO16 5ST, UK
2School of Mathematics, University of Southampton, Southampton, Hampshire, SO16 5ST, UK

Received 24 October 2008; Accepted 23 April 2009

Copyright © 2011 Sarah Brien et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Dimethyl sulphoxide and methylsulfonylmethane are two related nutritional supplements used for symptomatic relief of osteoarthritis (OA). We conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate their efficacy in reducing pain associated with OA. Randomized or quasi-randomized controlled trials (RCTs), identified by systematic electronic searches, citation tracking and searches of clinical trial registries, assessing these supplements in osteoarthritis of any joint were considered for inclusion. Meta-analysis, based on difference in mean pain related outcomes between treatment and comparator groups, was carried out based on a random effect model. Seven potential trials were identified of which three RCTs, two DMSO and one MSM (total patients) were eligible for inclusion. All three trials were considered high methodological quality. A significant degree of heterogeneity ( , ) was revealed. Two studies demonstrated statistically significant (but not clinically relevant) reduction in pain compared with controls; with one showing no group difference. The meta-analysis confirmed a non significant reduction of pain on visual analogue scale of 6.34 mm (SE = 3.49, 95% CI, −0.49, 13.17). The overall effect size of 1.82 was neither statistically nor clinically significant. Current evidence suggests DMSO and MSM are not clinically effective in the reduction of pain in the treatment of OA. No definitive conclusions can currently be drawn from the data due to the mixed findings and the use of inadequate dosing periods.