knee-joint-3Reporting at the American College of Rheumatology annual scientific meeting, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, in Pennsylvania found no benefit for preventing joint damage in the knees caused by osteoarthritis.

First, the details from Medpage Today.

  • 201 adults with mild to moderate knee pain were randomly placed into 2 groups for 24 weeks of treatment.
    • Glucosamine
    • Placebo
  • MRI and x-rays were performed on both knees at the beginning of the study and again at 24 weeks.
  • Age, sex, body mass index, and joint space narrowing were considered in evaluating the results.

And, the results.

  • The odds of worsening cartilage damage were the same with glucosamine and placebo.
  • The odds of worsening bone lesions were also the same for both groups.
  • There was no difference in cartilage synthesis between the groups.
  • There was no evidence of harm in taking glucosamine.

The bottom line?
“In this six-month study using state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging, we were not able to demonstrate any benefit of glucosamine on the prevention of worsening joint damage in individuals with mild to moderate knee pain,” concluded the authors.

These results support the findings in the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT), which was published a year ago. In that study, 2 years of treatment resulted in no clinically important difference in joint space width loss compared with placebo.

There was no mention of patients’ subjective assessment of benefit, and the article also doesn’t list the dose of glucosamine given to these patients.

10/23/09 07:24 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.