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Practitioner 1980; 224; 955-60

Perna canaliculus in the treatment of arthritis

Gibson RG, Gibson SLM, Conway V, et al.

This was the first long-term double-blind clinical study examining the effect of Biolane GLME on 66 patients with arthritis. The results showed that Biolane GLME was effective in treating patients with both rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or osteoarthritis (OA). The proportion of patients benefiting from treatment with Biolane GLME was higher in the RA than the OA group.


Arthritis in one or other of its several forms continues to be a major cause of disability in the UK. Although many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are now available, none is wholly effective, and side effects remain a problem. The search for a safer and more effective anti-inflammatory agent therefore continues.

Five years ago, a preparation of the New Zealand green lipped mussel, Perna canaliculus, came to our notice, and a preliminary therapeutic trial was carried out in 86 patients, 55 with rheumatoid arthritis and 31 with osteoarthritis. The patients were treated for periods ranging from six months to 4.5 years: 67% of those with rheumatoid arthritis and 35% of those with osteoarthritis benefited. Toxic effects were uncommon and generally mild.

In order to evaluate the efficacy of this preparation more fully, it was decided to carry out a carefully controlled double-blind trial on a similar group of patients. This second trial was also designed to include a greater number of patients suffering from osteoarthritis to obtain a more accurate assessment of the effect of the agent in this condition.