Glucosamine no better than placebo in reducing hip pain

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A new, two-year, randomized, placebo-controlled trial found that glucosamine sulfate was no better than placebo in controlling hip pain, the ability to do normal activities and the progression of hip osteoarthritis. Glucosamine is a natural substance found in healthy joint cartilage.

The effectiveness of glucosamine sulfate as a symptom and disease modifier for osteoarthritis is still under debate. The study was conducted to assess whether glucosamine sulfate has an effect on the symptoms and structural progression of hip osteoarthritis during 2 years of treatment.

222 patients with hip osteoarthritis were recruited, if they met the American College of Rheumatology clinical criteria for hip osteoarthritis. 2 years of treatment with 1500 mg of oral glucosamine sulfate or placebo once daily was implemented.

At baseline, both groups were similar in demographic and clinical variables. Overall, pain did not differ, nor did function. Joint space narrowing also did not differ after 24 months. Only 1 of the sensitivity analyses, based on extreme assumptions regarding missing assessments due to total hip replacement, provided results consistent with a glucosamine effect.

Researchers concluded that glucosamine sulfate was no better than placebo in reducing symptoms and progression of hip osteoarthritis.

Editorial writers caution that the 222 adults in the study had early arthritis, which might differ from more advanced and severe arthritis. The writers also say that osteoarthritis is a heterogeneous and chronic condition and the mechanism of action is still not known, so “its place in the treatment of osteoarthritis is still being debated.”

Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, USA

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