The effectiveness of glucosamine as a treatment for osteoarthritis has been debated for years. Clinical trials have produced conflicting results and patients were left confused by the information available. The scientific evidence shares the stage with testimonials from patients who have used the dietary supplement -- some swear by it while others say it did nothing for them. Most doctors resigned themselves to saying "you can give it a try".
Some clinical trials have suggested that the effectiveness of glucosamine may depend on the form you use -- glucosamine sulfate versus glucosamine hydrochloride. Trials of glucosamine hydrochloride though have shown it to be no better than placebo. That's a waste of money then, isn't it? Clinical trials that did conclude glucosamine offered positive results were those that focused on glucosamine sulfate and were carried out by one maker of glucosamine sulfate supplements -- Rottapharm.
A study published online August 12, 2008 in Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology discussed the results of a 2-year trial that compared glucosamine sulfate (not from Rottapharm) to placebo in patients with hip osteoarthritis. Glucosamine sulfate was found to have no effect on pain or x-ray evidence of structural changes related to hip osteoarthritis -- once again raising questions about its effectiveness as a pain reliever or disease modifier.
- 10 Things You Should Know About Glucosamine
- How Much Glucosamine Should A Patient Take?
- Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) Trial Results
- Dietary Supplements for Osteoarthritis
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