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Chondroitin Sulfate Equals Celecoxib for Knee Osteoarthritis

Chondroitin Sulfate Equals Celecoxib for Knee Osteoarthritis

Chondroitin sulfate at 800 mg/d is superior to placebo and similar to celecoxib for patients who have symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, a new study found.

Researchers examined the efficacy of pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin sulfate for managing symptomatic knee osteoarthritis using the European Medicines Agency’s recommendations for assessing novel agents.

Led by Jean-Yves Reginster, MD, PhD of Liege State University in Belgium, the investigators compared the impact of chondroitin sulfate on pain and functioning with that of celecoxib and placebo.

Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, but osteoarthritis of the knees and hips has a particularly large impact because they are weight-bearing joints, the authors noted.

Although there have been differences in evidence-based guidelines on how best to treat patients with knee osteoarthritis, symptomatic slow-acting drugs for osteoarthritis such as chondroitin sulfate have grown in favor because of their safety and tolerability. For example, chondroitin sulfate alone and in combination with crystalline glucosamine sulfate has been shown to reduce pain in persons with osteoarthritis.

In 2010, the European Medicines Agency produced a “Guideline on Clinical Investigation of Medicinal Products Used in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis” that recommended testing of the efficacy of chemical entities used in the treatment of symptomatic osteoarthritis using the following parameters: (1) a minimum 6-month study duration; (2) a 3-arm study design, including a placebo and an active comparator; and (3) 2 co-primary endpoints evaluating pain and function.

This, the first-known study of chondroitin sulfate for the management of knee osteoarthritis conducted in total accordance with the European Medicines Agency recommendations, was published online May 22 in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

The study

This study was a prospective, randomized, double blind, placebo- and celecoxib-controlled trial with 604 outpatients age 50 years and older who had a diagnosis of primary knee osteoarthritis based on American College of Rheumatology criteria. Patients were enrolled between June 2014 and October 2015 and represented Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, and Switzerland.


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