Question

Glucosamine

Do glucosamine and chondroitin help with arthritis?

A Answers (2)

  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    Experts don't agree about whether glucosamine and chondroitin help with arthritis. Glucosamine is made naturally in the body, and is important in building cartilage, the cushioning tissue in joints that is lost when arthritis sets in. Some studies have suggested that glucosamine supplements, with or without chondroitin, can reduce arthritis pain, help people with hip or knee arthritis move better, and reduce joint swelling and stiffness, all with few side effects. But in other studies, glucosamine and chondroitin do not seem to help. And no studies have yet shown that glucosamine or chondroitin will fix joint cartilage damaged by arthritis.

    Scientists are doing more studies to understand better these supplements' effects on arthritis.
    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
  • AJill Grimes, MD, Family Medicine, answered

    The latest evidence shows that glucosamine and chondroitin do not improve pain from hip and knee arthritis and do not delay progression of arthritis. For years, doctors have been recommending glucosamine and chondroitin for relief of the aches and pains associated with arthritis. But a recent large study of people with osteoarthritis of hip or knee looked at whether glucosamine or chondroitin provided pain relief or any improvement in narrowing of joint space (that is part of the visible decline in arthritic joints, as seen on x-ray.) Unfortunately, neither end point was observed.


    As such, the recommendations from this study are that doctors not encourage patients to try these medications, and that health insurers should not cover the cost of these drugs.


    On the flip side, the study recognized that there were no dangerous side effects of glucosamine or chondroitin, so if patients subjectively feel they are getting relief, the use of these drugs need not be discouraged.

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