The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    Glucosamine and chondroitin for osteoarthritis

    No better than placebo after 24 months of treatment.

    First, the details.

    • A 24-month study was conducted at 9 sites in the US as part of the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT).
    • 572 patients with knee osteoarthritis (Kellgren/Lawrence grade 2 or 3 changes and joint space width of at least 2 mm) participated.
      • The Kellgren-Lawrence score differentiates the severity of osteoarthritis.
      • Grade 2 has abnormal bone growth (osteophytes) and definite narrowing of the joint space.
      • Grade 3 also has scarring and bone deformity.
    • Patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 groups.
      • Glucosamine 500 mg 3 times daily
      • Chondroitin sulfate 400 mg 3 times daily
      • The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin
      • The COX-2 inhibitor, celecoxib (Celebrex) 200 mg daily
      • Placebo
    • Patients and researchers were not aware of the treatment given — double-blind.

    And, the results.

    • There was no statistically significant difference in average joint space width loss with any treatment compared to placebo.
    • A trend, but not a significant change in radiological findings was reported with the treatments vs placebo.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded that after 2 years of treatment, there was no clinically important difference in joint space width loss compared with placebo. “Knees with Kellgren/Lawrence grade 2 radiographic osteoarthritis appeared to have the greatest potential for modification by these treatments.”

    An earlier report by the GAIT researchers reported benefit in patients with moderate-to-severe knee pain.

    It’s a complicated area. This study was designed to identify pathological changes. The earlier study looked for evidence of pain relief.

    9/30/08 19:48 JR

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