Patients with knee osteoarthritis who took chondroitin sulfate showed improved function at 6 months compared with patients who took placebo, according to a recently published study of 603 patients.
“This compelling benefit-risk profile, in light of the known clinical risks associated with chronic usage of NSAIDs and paracetamol, underscores the potential importance of pharmaceutical-grade [chondroitin sulfate] CS in the management of knee [osteoarthritis] OA, especially in this older population requiring long-term treatment,” Jean-Yves Reginster, MD, PhD, from Liège State University in Belgium, and colleagues wrote.
Investigators performed a prospective, randomized controlled trial of 603 patients, of whom 199 received 800 mg per day of pharmaceutical-grade CS; 199 received 200 mg per day of celecoxib; and 205 received placebo for 3 months.
Researchers found patients who took CS and patients who took celecoxib had a larger reduction in pain and Lequesne index (LI) compared with patients who took placebo. In the intention-to-treat (ITT) population, pain reduction according to VAS after 182 days was greater in the CS group (–42.6 mm) and the celecoxib group (–39.5 mm) compared with placebo (–33.3 mm), with no significant difference between CS and celecoxib. For LI in the ITT population, pain reduction was also greater in CS (–4.7) and celecoxib (–4.6) compared with placebo (–3.7), with no significant difference between CS and celecoxib. Both treatments also showed favorable safety profiles.
“More generally, this study corroborates the need for future clinical guidelines on the pharmacological management of knee OA to consider study design, as well as the composition and quality of the test product, when assessing the effectiveness of [symptomatic slow-acting drugs for OA] SYSADOAs,” they wrote. – by Will A. Offit
The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.