NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many people take glucosamine for arthritis-like symptoms but results of a new study suggest that glucosamine has no clinically meaningful effect on pain, function, or disease progression in patients with arthritis of the hip.
In a study lasting 2 years, Dr. Rianne M. Rozendaal and colleagues at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands randomly assigned 222 patients to glucosamine (1500 milligrams daily) or to placebo. The patients had relatively early stages of the hip arthritis; about half of them had mild arthritis for a period of 3 years or less.
The research team took care to ensure the integrity of their results. The supplier of the glucosamine was required to double-check that the tablets were the correct dose, and all physicians, patients, and researchers were blinded to group assignment. The rate of completion was high (93 percent), and the study was conducted without drug company funding.
In spite of the carefully controlled trial conditions, treatment allocation (glucosamine or placebo) had no significant effect on pain scores, physical function, stiffness, use of pain medication, or progression of hip arthritis, Rozendaal’s team reports in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The writers of a commentary published with the study, note that despite numerous studies, definitive evidence of glucosamine’s efficacy is lacking. They attribute much of the uncertainty to non-standardized glucosamine preparations, inadequate “blinding” in studies, and differences in outcome measures.
SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine, February 19, 2008.