High-quality chondroitin sulfate is as effective as celecoxib in treating knee osteoarthritis, according to an international trial in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
Roughly 600 adults over 50 with primary knee osteoarthritis were randomized to receive pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin sulfate (800 mg) plus placebo, celecoxib (200 mg) plus placebo, or double placebo daily for 6 months.
At the conclusion of the trial, the chondroitin and celecoxib groups had significantly greater reductions in pain relative to the placebo group, with no difference between the two active treatments.
At 3 and 6 months, chondroitin and celecoxib conferred significant improvements in function relative to placebo, with no difference between the two active groups.
Noting the risks associated with long-term use of NSAIDs and acetaminophen, he authors suggest chondroitin sulfate "should be considered a first-line treatment in the medical management of knee OA."
This is promising news following the recent discovery that arthroscopes for osteoarthritis of the knee has no clinical relevance.