The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    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.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    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

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