The War on Drugs: Legal Drugs for Joint Pain, That is
In the world of pain relief, there’s a kind of medicinal war going on. Perhaps. One the one side are the Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) such as Ibuprofen, and on the other are several “natural” pain relievers, often in proprietary blends, that claim not only to be more effective in safe pain-relief of NSAIDS, even more effective. Their claim of being “natural” is at
tractive to many people who find drugs of all kind – both over-the-counter and prescription – to be suspect.
Lanconone is one of those pain-relieving drugs that is a”patent-pending, proprietary formula that blends natural ingredients to reduce joint pain.” The website Enovate Biolife elaborates, “new data published in Trials journal during March 2016 demonstrated that Lanconone® provided meaningful pain relief at 196.59 mins which were comparable to meaningful pain relief at 167.13 mins in subjects taking Ibuprofen (400 mg).” Sounds convincing, yes?
What Exactly is “FDA Approved”?
And then there are those drugs approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). According to the FDA’s mission, it is, “responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human…drugs, biological products, medical devices, [and] our nation’s food supply….[The] FDA is also responsible…to speed innovations…and by helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to maintain and improve their health.” An FDA approval is in a way the federal government telling you that this drug has gone through careful, objective scientific studies, and has been “green-lighted” to be put on the market for human consumption. Also something that sounds you can be assured of, doesn’t it?
Enough Already: What Do We Choose?!
We as consumers are confused. We seek to find not only pain relief medication but almost every kind of condition which we want to treat. Walk into your local drug store and you see aisles of both – those FDA-approved, and now, evenly more so than ever, shelves of natural supplements extracted from such natural elements as tree bark, flowers, or leaves, that each company claims to be the natural cure to certain symptoms for centuries. We then have to make a decision. What, as a consumer, should we buy? Most of us, it would seem, opt for FDA-approved medicine like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, depending on our kind of pain. But then there are those who swear by supplements, feel they work better, and also may have a distrust of any kind of federal department that governs whether something either safe or efficacious.
What do we choose?
Face-Off: Lanconone vs. Ibuprofen
A recent scientific study compared the effect of 1000mg of Lanconone with 400mg of Ibuprofen on acute pain on exertion (meaning, the pain you feel in your knee right after a run, for example).
The study was conducted using the same method of all scientific studies: in an objective way, using the same methodical progression, with each report drawing conclusions based on the outcomes rather than starting with a theory and then attempting to “prove” that theory. The study’s conclusion was thus, “The current study successfully demonstrated rapid pain-relieving potential of Lanconone® which was comparable to Ibuprofen. No adverse event related to the interventions was reported in the study.” It does not mention certain claims made by the makers of Lanconone, such as the time it takes for it to “kick in,” but it does indeed seem to be similar in efficiency to Ibuprofen.
Ok, so the conclusion was this: Lancocone is “comparable” to Ibuprofen. In other words, each one may work for you in somewhat equal ways.
Meaningful Pain & Placebo
Let’s go back, now, to the description on Enovate Biolife. It asserts, “The meaningful pain relief continued for 6 hours. Meaningful pain relief is a critical endpoint in pain studies. The American Pain Society has stated that a pain-relieving effect, although statistically significant, is irrelevant if the pain relief is not meaningful to the patients.”
Ah. So, let’s talk about this idea of “meaningful pain.” Pain is a subjective feeling we have and can be difficult for doctors to gauge when speaking with the patient. It’s elusive, in a way. Many trials and studies often have two cohorts in their research to test a drug: one that is administered the actual drug, and the other that is administered a “placebo,” or a pill with no medicine in it at all (like a sugar pill). In many studies, people who are given the placebo report an improvement to whatever condition they were feeling.
This seems contrary, almost dishonest, but it’s not. Scientists are well aware of the psychological power of a placebo. Our minds are complex, and control what signals to send through our nerves. Psychology does play a part in this. If we take a drug, for example, sometimes we “feel” better because we tell our brain that we’re supposed to feel better. Another way of putting it is that we want to believe in the efficacy of the drug so much, that our minds find a way to lessen the pain by either focusing less on it, coping with it better or a whole host of other theories.
“Meaningful pain,” then, seems to fall into this category. If you feel one drug as opposed to another – both of which have been tested to offer the same medicinal benefits with no significant difference – that drug will work better for you.
To make a qualification, this writer is neither saying Lanconone is a placebo, that pain is only an imagination of the mind, or products either FDA-approved or natural are better than another. The point is this: when it comes to looking for that medication you want, and need, it’s important to know all the information. It’s also important for your checkbook; if one drug has been tested to be the same as the other, don’t be seduced by marketing. Choose the cheaper option!
- ‘Lanconone’. 2013. Accessed April 23, 2016. http://www.enovatebiolife.com/lanconone/.
- Media, Rodman. ‘Lanconone’. 2016. Accessed April 23, 2016. http://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/issues/2010-10/view_suppliers-corner/lanconone.
- Miller, James. Statement of FDA Mission. n.p., 2012. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/aboutfda/reportsmanualsforms/reports/budgetreports/ucm298331.pdf.