Glucosamine provides benefits for treatment of arthritic joints

19 March 2014

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19 March 2014 - The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) today said there is good evidence to support the use of glucosamine for arthritic joints despite a recent study that did not demonstrate a benefit from daily glucosamine intake. For example, two recent studies of glucosamine and chondroitin revealed the combination has a protective effect against structural disease progression in osteoarthritis of the knee. 1,2,3

ASMI's comment was made in response to a study published in Arthritis and Rheumatism which evaluated the efficacy of oral glucosamine hydrochloride on joint health in subjects with chronic knee pain.4 The study was unable to demonstrate a benefit from glucosamine supplementation.

The study, The Joints on Glucosamine (JOG) Study: the effect of oral glucosamine on joint structure, a randomised trial, recruited 201 participants with mild to moderate pain in one or both knees. Participants were treated for 24 weeks with 1500 mg glucosamine hydrochloride.

ASMI Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Steve Scarff, said that the study had limitations which reduced its ability to show an effect from glucosamine supplementation. "This particular 24 week study was too short to be able to demonstrate an effect because of the very small change in the control group. A longer term study would be more likely to demonstrate benefits.

"The inclusion criteria would have also impacted the study results. Potential participants were excluded if they had taken glucosamine or other dietary supplements for knee pain within the past six months. Also, if they were unwilling to avoid treatment of knee pain with NSAIDS or any pain relievers other than paracetamol for the 24 weeks of the study. These criteria would have meant that only people with very mild knee pain of recent onset would have participated in the study.

"The authors themselves noted a number of limitations in the study. Importantly, there was only a small amount of worsening of cartilage damage in the control group, leading the authors to conclude the study was underpowered. This means that it is not possible to determine whether the glucosamine had an effect or results were due to random chance.

"Another limitation was that knee X-rays were not taken before the study so it is possible that knee pain was due to causes other than knee osteoarthritis.
"This study clearly had limitations which reduced its ability to demonstrate the efficacy of glucosamine supplementation for osteoarthritic knee pain," said Mr Scarff.

About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak body representing sponsors of non-prescription medicines - over-the-counter (OTC) and complementary medicines. Its members make up 85 per cent of the $4bn self care market. Membership totals 60 companies and ASMI members employ approximately 17,000 people with exports estimated at $600 million annually. ASMI's mission is to promote better health through responsible self care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy (

1. Fransen M, Agaliotis M, Nairn L, et al. Glucosamine and chondroitin for knee osteoarthritis: a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial evaluating single and combination regimens. Ann Rheum Dis 2014; Jan 6 doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-203954.
2. Martel-Pelletier J, Roubille C, Abram F, et al. First-line analysis of the effects of treatment on progression of structural changes in knee osteoarthritis over 24 months: data from the osteoarthritis initiative progression cohort. Ann Rheum Dis 2013; Dec 13 doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-203906.
3. NPS MedicineWise: Glucosamine & chondroitin: new evidence of joint protection
Published in Health News and Evidence, Date published: 07 March 2014.
4. Kwoh, C. K. et al. The Joints on Glucosamine (JOG) Study: the effect of oral glucosamine on joint structure, a randomised trial. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 2013.


For more information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
Marie Kelly-Davies
PR Manager, Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)
M:0408 256 381 E: