new trial shows supplement reduced pain to same level as drug treatment

Glucosamine plus chondroitin sulphate may aid joint health in osteoarthritis

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Glucosamine plus chondroitin sulphate may aid joint health in osteoarthritis

Related tags Chondroitin sulphate Osteoarthritis

Combined supplementation with chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine could help to reduce knee joint pain, stiffness, and functional disability of people with osteoarthritis, say researchers.

The study, published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases​, tested the effectiveness and safety of supplentation with chondroitin sulphate plus glucosamine hydrochloride (CS+GH) compared to a widely used anti-inflammatory drug known as celecoxib – finding that the combination had comparable efficacy to the drug after six months of use in people with severe osteoarthritis.

Led by first author Professor Marc Hochberg from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the research team reported that the combination of chondroitin sulfate plus glucosamine led to a clinically relevant reduction in pain, functional disability, stiffness, swelling and joint effusion – thereby improving all the parameters studied.

“This study confirms the efficacy of the combination of pharmaceutical grade-chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine in the long term and suggests that, considering its excellent safety profile, it may be a good alternative for patients with cardiovascular or gastrointestinal problems, for whom chronic treatment with NSAIDs cannot be recommended,” ​said Hochberg.

Study details

The data comes from a double-blind Multicentre Osteoarthritis interVEntion trial with SYSADOA (MOVES) conducted in France, Germany, Poland and Spain. The trial assessed the differences in supplementation with CS+GH versus treatment with celecoxib in 606 patients with knee osteoarthritis and moderate-to-severe pain. 

The MOVES trial is sponsored by pharmaceutical and neutraceutical biotech company Bioibérica.

Participants were randomised to receive 400 mg CS plus 500 mg GH three times a day or 200 mg celecoxib every day for 6 months, explained the team – adding that the primary outcome was the mean decrease in WOMAC pain from baseline to 6 months. 

Secondary outcomes included WOMAC function and stiffness, visual analogue scale for pain, presence of joint swelling/effusion, rescue medication consumption, Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Clinical Trials and Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OMERACT-OARSI) criteria and EuroQoL-5D, said Hochberg and his colleagues.

The team found that reductions in pain was both clinically important and statistically significant in both groups (50% reduction in both groups), as was the improvement in stiffness (46.9% reduction with the combination vs 49.2% with celecoxib), and function (45.5% vs 46.4%, respectively).

“Similar improvements were seen in visual analogue scale, the pain/discomfort dimension of EuroQoL-5D and patients’ and investigators’ assessments of disease activity and response to therapy without differences between treatments,”​ wrote the authors.

Source:  Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Published online, Open Access, doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-206792
“Combined chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine for painful knee osteoarthritis: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, non-inferiority trial versus celecoxib”
Authors: Marc C Hochberg, et al

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