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Glucosamine Chondroitin Sulfate Supplements Don't Relieve Pain in People with Minor Knee Joint Osteoarthritis Pain

February 22nd 2006

Glucosamine Chondroitin Sulfate Supplements Don't Relieve Pain in People with Minor Knee Joint Osteoarthritis Pain

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Not all participants in a recent study benefited from the popular dietary supplement combination of glucosamine plus chondroitin sulfate.  Although, in an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, patients with moderate-to-severe pain showed significant relief with the supplement. 

The data was extrapolated from the Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT).  Elias Zerhouni, M.D. said “GAIT is another example of NIH's commitment to exploring the potential of complementary and alternative medicine to prevent and treat disease in a manner that is fair, unbiased, and scientifically rigorous.”  Elias is the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The study was conducted at 16 sites across the country over a 4 year period.

The GAIT project enrolled 1,600 participants with documented osteoarthritis of the knee.  These participants were randomly assigned to receive one of five treatments daily for 24 weeks.  Some were assigned glucosamine alone (1500 mg), chondroitin sulfate alone (1200 mg), glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate combined (same doses), a placebo, or celecoxib (200 mg).


According to the NIH press release “The researchers found that participants taking celecoxib experienced statistically significant pain relief, as expected, versus placebo--about 70 percent of those taking celecoxib versus 60 percent taking placebo had a 20 percent or greater pain reduction. For all participants, there were no significant differences between the other treatments tested and placebo. However, for participants in the moderate-to-severe pain subgroup, glucosamine combined with chondroitin sulfate provided statistically significant pain relief compared to placebo--about 79 percent in this group had a 20 percent or greater pain reduction compared to 54 percent for placebo.”


Here is the interesting part of the study:  Those in the subgroup that experienced mild pain had little help from glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate together or alone compared to the placebo.  According to Dr. Clegg, “Because of the small size of the moderate-to-severe pain subgroup, the findings in this group for glucosamine plus chondroitin sulfate should be considered preliminary and need to be confirmed in a study designed for this purpose”.  Dr. Clegg is Professor of Medicine and Chief of Rheumatology at the University of Utah, School of Medicine.

There are an estimated 20 million Americans that suffer from osteoarthritis.  This condition frequently causes physical disability among adults.  Dr. Stephen Katz, M.D., Ph.D. said "We are excited to support studies looking at new treatment options that could improve the symptoms and quality of life of people with osteoarthritis."  Dr. Clegg added “I urge people with osteoarthritis to follow a comprehensive plan for managing their arthritis pain--eat right, exercise, lose excess weight, and talk to your physician about appropriate treatment options."

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Keywords and misspellings:  pane reumatoid rhumatoid rhumatoidal rheumatoidal arthritis arthrites pain

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:50 PM