Chondroitin Sulfate Supplements Don't Relieve Pain in People with Minor
Knee Joint Osteoarthritis Pain
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."
By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer
Books about Pain
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