Two large trials validate the use of popular dietary supplements for joint pain:
• The CNIH-funded GAIT Study finds glucosamine/chondroitin combination effective for people with moderate to severe pain,
• And the GUIDE Trial results suggest glucosamine alone "Might be the preferred knee OA medication."
According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 21 million Americans have osteoarthritis, and one in three experience chronic joint pain. For these individuals, two new studies presented here at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) meeting offer welcome relief.
The studies add to the existing body of evidence supporting use of glucosamine alone or combined with chondroitin to effectively manage joint pain. "I've recommended glucosamine and chondroitin to my patients for years," said Mary Jo DiMilia, MD, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Mt. Sinai in New York who specializes in integrative medicine.
"This data reinforces what many experts have long known. There are safe, effective and natural options patients can use to address joint pain. As an added benefit, glucosamine and chondroitin may help rebuild cartilage."
The Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) Details
Funded by the National Institutes of Health, GAIT was a six-month, five-arm trial that involved 1,500 osteoarthritis (OA) patients with mild to severe pain. The patients were given glucosamine (1,500 mg), chondroitin (1,200 mg), glucosamine-chondroitin combined, celecoxib (200 mg) or placebo daily.
The GAIT abstract posted on the ACR website concludes that "the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin is effective in treating moderate to severe knee pain due to osteoarthritis." GAIT results will be presented during the opening plenary session on Monday, November 14 at the ACR meeting.
The Glucosamine Unum in Die Efficacy (GUIDE) Trial
GUIDE is a European study that measured the effectiveness of glucosamine to treat knee osteoarthritis compared with acetaminophen - the preferred treatment in OA practice guidelines. The study population consisted of more than 300 patients who took either 1,500 mg glucosamine or 1,000 mg acetaminophen or placebo for six months.
The GUIDE study abstract, posted on the ACR Web site, concludes that "Glucosamine sulfate at the oral once-daily dose of 1500 mg might be the preferred symptomatic medication in knee OA." This study will be presented at the ACR meeting on Tuesday, November 15.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are sold as dietary supplements in the U.S. Consumers should look for reputable brand name products at grocery, drug, mass and club retailers. Glucosamine and chondroitin are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Source: Arthritis Foundation news release, Nov 13, 2005