Glucosamine/ ChondroitinOsteoarthritisPain-Knee

Glucosamine and chondroitin for osteoarthritis

No better than placebo after 24 months of treatment.

First, the details.

  • A 24-month study was conducted at 9 sites in the US as part of the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT).
  • 572 patients with knee osteoarthritis (Kellgren/Lawrence grade 2 or 3 changes and joint space width of at least 2 mm) participated.
    • The Kellgren-Lawrence score differentiates the severity of osteoarthritis.
    • Grade 2 has abnormal bone growth (osteophytes) and definite narrowing of the joint space.
    • Grade 3 also has scarring and bone deformity.
  • Patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 groups.
    • Glucosamine 500 mg 3 times daily
    • Chondroitin sulfate 400 mg 3 times daily
    • The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin
    • The COX-2 inhibitor, celecoxib (Celebrex) 200 mg daily
    • Placebo
  • Patients and researchers were not aware of the treatment given — double-blind.

And, the results.

  • There was no statistically significant difference in average joint space width loss with any treatment compared to placebo.
  • A trend, but not a significant change in radiological findings was reported with the treatments vs placebo.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded that after 2 years of treatment, there was no clinically important difference in joint space width loss compared with placebo. “Knees with Kellgren/Lawrence grade 2 radiographic osteoarthritis appeared to have the greatest potential for modification by these treatments.”

An earlier report by the GAIT researchers reported benefit in patients with moderate-to-severe knee pain.

It’s a complicated area. This study was designed to identify pathological changes. The earlier study looked for evidence of pain relief.

9/30/08 19:48 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.