Glucosamine Supplementation Helps Protect the Health of Knees

In a study published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage researchers assessed the occurrence of total joint replacement (TJR) among patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) that previously were treated with glucosamine or placebo.

The subjects included knee OA patients that participated in two previous randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind three year trials. Out of the 340 patients with at least 12 months of treatment, 81% were contacted and agreed to participate in the present study. The present evaluation included 144 treated with glucosamine and 131 on placebo.  The average length of follow-up was approximately five years after the end of the trial and discontinuance of the treatment.

Of the patients given the placebo during the trial, 14.5% (19/131) had subsequently received a total knee replacement.  Compared to placebo, less than half of those treated with glucosamine had total knee replacement (9/144, 6.3%). It was also discovered that the group of patients formerly treated with glucosamine used less medications for symptoms and other health resources than those from the placebo group by the end of follow-up.

Results of this follow-up study suggest that treatment of knee OA with glucosamine for one to three years may reduce or prevent the occurrence of total joint replacement in an average follow-up of five years after discontinuing its use.

Bruyere O et al.  Total joint replacement after glucosamine sulphate treatment in knee osteoarthritis: results of a mean 8-year observation of patients from two previous 3-year, randomised, placebo-controlled trials.  Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2008 Feb;16(2):254-60.