Public health

News in brief: Australian first for silicosis, lupus compo; A COMBO of interventions works best for thumb OA; Class action against makers of glucosamine supplement settles for a princely sum


Australian first for silicosis, lupus compo

In a legal case that lawyers say is an Australian first, workplace insurers have agreed to compensation for a woman who was exposed to silica dust that led to her autoimmune disease. Dianne Adams, 58, won her claim against WorkSafe that the silicosis she developed after working at silica milling factories was likely related to the onset of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Shine Lawyers is representing seven former workers who are making compensation claims after being diagnosed with silicosis and autoimmune diseases.

A COMBO of interventions works best for thumb OA

A combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments results in a potentially clinically beneficial effect on hand function in thumb OA but not pain, an Australian study reports.

The randomised COMBO trial found that people with thumb OA who received a base-of-thumb splint, hand exercises, a topical NSAID and education on self-management had improved function at 6 weeks compared to people who received education on self-management and ergonomic principles alone (between-group difference, -1.7 units; 97.3% CI, -2.9 to -0.5; P = .002). 

There was no between-group difference in pain from baseline to week 6 (mean difference, −4.2; 97.3% CI, −11.3 to 3.0; P = .19)

The findings were published in JAMA Internal Medicine and led by Dr Leticia Deveza from the Institute of Bone and Joint Research and Sarah Robbins from the Kolling Institute of Medical Research.

“Previous studies on combined treatments in thumb base osteoarthritis have provided conflicting results,” said Dr Deveza. “To our knowledge, ours is the first study to investigate a combination of nonpharmacological and pharmacological treatments in thumb base osteoarthritis – and importantly, we’ve found a solution that could be of clinical benefit.”

Largest dietary supplement class action settlement involves glucosamine

Reckitt Benckiser LLC has agreed to pay $53 million USD to settle claims that it deceptively marketed a glucosamine supplement. 

The Plaintiffs claimed that they and others were induced to buy the glucosamine supplement ‘Move Free Advanced’  based on claims made in advertisements and on the packaging that the product treated joint pain and stiffness. 

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