Chondroitin sulfate (CS) plus glucosamine sulfate (GS) was shown to be no better than placebo for reducing pain and function impairment for people with knee osteoarthritis, a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology found.
Although the use of CS and GS has been recognized since the 1970s, there has been limited data concerning their efficacy for treating knee osteoarthritis.
According to Arthritis.org, “The American College of Rheumatology in their latest osteoarthritis treatment recommendations published in 2012 does not recommend chondroitin or glucosamine for the initial treatment of osteoarthritis. Chondroitin and glucosamine supplements alone or in combination may not work for everyone with osteoarthritis. However, patients who take these supplements and who have seen improvements with them should not stop taking them. Both supplements are safe to take long-term.”
The study was a multicenter, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study of 164 patients with knee osteoarthritis. Participants were randomized to receive either CS (1200 mg) plus GS (1500 mg) or placebo in a single oral daily dose for a duration of six months. The mean change in VAS global pain was set as primary endpoint. Secondary outcomes included the mean change in the investigator global assessment, total WOMAC, pain and function subscales of WOMAC, OMERACT-OARSI 2004 responder rate, and rescue medication use.
“This is the first randomized controlled trial sponsored by a pharmaceutical company to evaluate the efficacy of a combination of CS and GS and that included a Data and Safety Monitoring Board, or DSMB, composed of independent experts charged with ensuring participant safety and accurate, bias-free data. This committee was blinded to treatment assignment and not involved in the trial procedures, and it had no financial ties or conflicts of interest with the sponsor or other trial organizers,” said Prof. Gabriel Herrero-Beaumont, senior author of the Arthritis & Rheumatology study.
The study concluded, “CS and GS failed to demonstrate superiority over placebo in reducing pain and function impairment in patients with symptomatic KOA at 6 months.”
According to the researchers, additional research may provide valuable insights on what role CS and GS therapy might play in the management of osteoarthritis.