Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chondroitin/Glucosamine and Osteoarthritis

In the April 2015 issue of the Natural Medicine Journal, author Sarah Bedell Cook discusses the impact that chondroitin and glucosamine can have on osteoarthritis symptoms in comparison to commonly prescribed medications (specifically cyclooxygenase 2, or COX-2, selective inhibitors) like Celebrex. The article focuses on the MOVES trial which involved 606 participants (who were primarily white women, mean age 63 years old). All the participants had osteoarthritis of the knee and experienced moderate to severe pain.   The participants either took 400 mg of chondroitin sulfate and 500 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride 3 times per day or 200 mg of Celebrex 1 time per day for 6 months. The participants were evaluated at 1, 2, 4, and 6 months for change in pain score as measured by the WOMAC index (as well as stiffness, joint swelling, and acetaminophen use). Celebrex was more effective at reducing pain score at the 1, 2, and 4 month follow-up, but at the 6 month follow-up, the chondroitin/glucosamine combination was found to be as effective as Celebrex in reducing pain score. There have been other studies that have not shown pain improvement with chondroitin/glucosamine, but this study does provide encouraging information that taking chondroitin/glucosamine at a therapeutic dosage (approximately 3000 mg per day) for an extended period of time (6 months) does have the potential to reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis. Some additional interesting points that Bedell Cook brings up in the article include that chondroitin has been shown to be more effective than glucosamine at reducing pain in previous studies and that glucosamine sulfate, rather than hydrochloride (which is what is used in the MOVES trial), has shown to be the more effective pain reducing form. This extra info can help to fine tune our choices around which of these supplements/which forms of these supplements are the best to integrate for osteoarthritis support. 

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