Methylsulfonylmethane for treatment of low back pain: A safety analysis of a randomized, controlled trial

Paul Crawford, Amanda Crawford, Frederick Nielson, Robert Lystrup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To ensure that 16 weeks of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) does not cause adverse effects in patients with the musculoskeletal disorders of osteoarthritis and back pain.

DESIGN: We carried out a subgroup analysis on data from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, "The use of Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in the treatment of low back pain," to determine the safety of taking 6 g daily of MSM (OptiMSM®, Bergstrom Nutrition). We monitored metabolic parameters to determine whether MSM altered hematologic, liver or kidney function. We also monitored physiologic parameters of blood pressure and weight.

SETTING: Family Medicine Residency, Mike O'Callaghan Military Medical Center.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Metabolic parameters as measured by hematologic function - white blood cells (WBC), platelets, hemoglobin (Hb), glucose; liver function as measured by - total bilirubin, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). Physiologic parameters as measured by weight, diastolic (DBP) and systolic blood pressure (SBP); kidney function as measured by creatinine.

RESULTS: Analysis of outcome measures showed no significant difference between MSM and placebo (p < 0.05) safety values.

CONCLUSION: MSM has no effects on WBC, platelets, Hb, total bilirubin, AST, ALT, creatinine weight, DBP, or SBP in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-88
Number of pages4
JournalComplementary therapies in medicine
StatePublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Blood/drug effects
  • Blood Pressure/drug effects
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide/therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney/drug effects
  • Liver/drug effects
  • Low Back Pain/drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis/drug therapy
  • Sulfones/therapeutic use


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