A large federally funded study has shown that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate appears to offer significant pain relief for patients with moderate-tosevere arthritis of the knee. The results of the study were published in the February 23, 2006, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Utah, included 1583 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, 354 of whom reported experiencing moderate-to-severe pain. From baseline to week 24 of the study, all groups reported an overall 20% decrease in knee pain. Researchers said, however, that 79% of the 72 moderate-to-severe-pain patients who were given the combination of supplements reported a significant reduction in pain and stiffness, compared with only 54% of the placebo group of similar patients.
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are natural substances found in cartilage, and supplements are typically made from material extracted from shellfish and animal cartilage. Researchers are continuing studies on the supplements to determine if they can stop or slow the progression of osteoarthritis.