The Efficacy of Chondroitin Sulfate in Osteoarthritis.




J Rheumatol

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Chondroitin Sulfate Arthritis, Osteo
Professional Data: Chondroitin Sulfate Arthritis, Osteo


Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is characterized by erosion of articular cartilage. The joints most often affected by OA are the knees, hips, spine, and hands, although other joints may be involved as well. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over 33 million Americans suffer from Osteoarthritis. Of these, the majority are individuals over 65 yrs of age.1 Symptoms of Osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion in the affected joints. Past medicinal treatments for osteoarthritis are usually used to control symptoms and include nonsteroidol anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), Cox-2 Inhibitors, Acetaminophen and corticosteriods, various topical creams, and surgery.

A recent article published in the Journal of Rheumatology, evaluated the efficacy and safety of chondroitin sulfate (CS) at 1 g/day per compared to a placebo In this double blind, randomized, parallel group study, patients with femorotibial osteoarthritis were given 3 months of treatment followed by a 3 month post treatment period. 130 patients (63 in CS group and 67 in placebo group) were tested using the Lequesne's algofunctional index (a scale for severity of symptoms), to evaluate symptom relief. Other criteria accessed was: self-assessed pain with activity and at rest, self-assessed impact of OA on daily living, patient and physician assessed overall change in patient since the previous visit, and daily NSAID and analgesic consumption. All of these were evaluated monthly.

At the end of the treatment, the Lequesne’s algofunctional index showed greater but nonsignificant improvement in the chondroitin sulfate group than in the placebo group. Pain at rest was also decreased in the chondroitin sulfate group compared to the placebo group and in this group the difference was significant. At one month after treatment the chondroitin sulfate group showed a significantly higher persistent effect than did the placebo. The authors observed " that a trend towards efficacy of CS 1 g/day compared to placebo with good tolerability after 3 month treatment, and persistent efficacy one month post treatment."2 While not a large study, this has shown promise for the use and related efficacy of chondroitin sulphate.


1. National Center for Health Statistics: Vital and Health Statistics Report series 10, No 200.
2. Mazieres B, et al. Chondroitin Sulfate in Osteoarthritis of the Knee: a Prospective, Double Blind, Placebo Controlled Multicenter Clinical Study. J Rheumatol. 2001;28:173-81.