February 2015

Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine Hydrochloride Might Improve Knee Osteoarthritis

A new study suggests that taking chondroitin sulfate with glucosamine hydrochloride is as effective as taking the commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib for knee osteoarthritis.

Chondroitin sulfate is a chemical that is normally found in cartilage around joints in the body. Chondroitin sulfate is manufactured from animal sources, such as cow cartilage. Glucosamine is usually made from seashells, or it can be made in the laboratory. Glucosamine hydrochloride is one of several forms of glucosamine.

In the recent Multicentre Osteoarthritis interVEntion trial with SYSADOA (MOVES), researchers in France, Germany, Poland and Spain evaluated the safety and effectiveness of chondroitin sulfate plus glucosamine hydrochloride compared to the commonly used drug celecoxib for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis in 606 patients. Each participant was randomly assigned to receive 400 milligrams of chondroitin sulfate plus 500 milligrams of glucosamine hydrochloride three times daily, or 200 milligrams of celecoxib once daily for a total of 6 months. The main outcome measure was the average decrease in Western Ontario and McMaster osteoarthritis index (WOMAC) pain. Other various outcome measures, including WOMAC function and stiffness were also evaluated.

The researchers found that pain was reduced by 50% in clinically and statistically relevant measures for both the chondroitin and celecoxib groups. Furthermore, both groups also experienced 50% less joint swelling. The authors noted that there were few reported side effects in both treatment groups.

The authors concluded that chondroitin sulfate plus glucosamine hydrochloride are as safe and effective as celecoxib for knee osteoarthritis.

For information about chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride, please visit Natural Medicines’ Food, Herbs & Supplements Database.


  1. Hochberg MC, Martel-Pelletier J, Monfort J, et al. Combined chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine for painful knee osteoarthritis: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, non-inferiority trial versus celecoxib. Ann Rheum Dis. 2015 Jan 14. pii: annrheumdis-2014-206792.

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