Glucosamine/ ChondroitinOsteoarthritisPain

Symptomatic response to chondroitin in patients with osteoarthritis

Researchers at the University of Geneva School of Medicine, in Switzerland, evaluated the response to highly purified chondroitin 4&6 sulfate (CS) in patients with hand osteoarthritis.

First, the details.

  • 162 symptomatic patients with radiographic hand osteoarthritis were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 6 months.
    • 800 mg CS once daily
    • Placebo
  • All patients had spontaneous hand pain of at least 40 mm on a 0-100 mm visual analogue scale (VAS).
  • Functional impairment of the most symptomatic hand was at least 6 on the 0-30 Functional Index for Hand Osteoarthritis scale (a 10-item questionnaire).
  • Improvement in grip strength, duration of morning stiffness, acetaminophen (Tylenol) consumption, and a global impression of benefit were also measured.
  • Neither the patients nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.

And, the results.

  • Decreased hand pain was significantly greater with CS vs placebo.
  • Hand function improved significantly more with CS vs placebo.
  • There was a statistically significant difference between groups in favor of CS for duration of morning stiffness and global impression on treatment benefit.
  • Evolution of grip strength, acetaminophen consumption, and safety endpoints didn’t differ between treatments.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “This study demonstrates that CS improves hand pain and function in symptomatic hand osteoarthritis, with a good safety profile.”

Studies of chondroitin in patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis have generally been negative, except perhaps in very early stages of the disease. So, these latest findings are interesting and should be confirmed by other researchers.

9/8/11 20:46 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.