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European Journal of Rheumatology and Inflammation 1983 ; 6 : 197-200

Perna canaliculus in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

D E Caughey, R R Grigor, E B Caughey, P Young, P J Gow, A W Stewart.

This double-blind clinical trial was conducted at Auckland Hospital in 47 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Patients were randomised to receive naproxen (an anti-inflammatory drug) + GLME or naproxen + placebo for the first 6 weeks. Then for the following 5 weeks, the naproxen was replaced with placebo, so that the groups were taking GLME + placebo or two forms of placebo. This study assessed the effectiveness of GLME by measuring how many patients stayed on the treatment. GLME was slightly more effective than placebo in this study (but not statistically significantly so). However, when the powerful anti-inflammatory drug was withdrawn, many patients stopped treatment because of their worsening condition. This is not a surprising finding. A potential confounding factor is that patients withdrew from the study for reasons unrelated to their treatment.


Freeze-dried extracts of the New Zealand green lipped mussel, Perna canaliculus, have been promoted extensively as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis for some years though there have been few published trials of its effectiveness. Our study was designed to test the ability of the mussel extract to relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis as both a supplement and an alternative to orthodox anti-inflammatory medication.