Review: both glucosamine and chondroitin are effective for osteoarthritis, but the magnitude of effect is unclear
QUESTION: In patients with osteoarthritis (OA), are glucosamine and chondroitin effective for relieving symptoms and improving function?
Studies were identified by searching Medline (1966 to June 1999) and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register. Handsearches were done of bibliographies of articles and meeting abstracts published in supplements of Arthritis and Rheumatism, the British Journal of Rheumatology, and Osteoarthritis and Cartilage (1978–98). Authors, content experts, and drug manufacturers were contacted to identify unpublished studies.
Studies in any language were selected if they were randomised, double blind, controlled trials that compared oral or parenteral glucosamine sulphate, glucosamine hydrochloride, or chondroitin sulphate with placebo for ≥4 weeks in patients with knee or hip OA. Studies also had to include ≥1 outcome measure from a list compiled by the reviewers.
2 reviewers assessed the quality of studies (14 item quality scale) and resolved disagreements by discussion. Data were extracted on patients, route of administration, joint with OA, outcomes, funding, allocation concealment, and use …