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Clinical trial shows supplement is safe therapeutic option for OA suffers
New research published in Arthritis & Rheumatism (1) shows that chondroitin sulphate significantly decreased pain and improved hand function in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the hand (2) compared with those in the placebo group. Results of the clinical trial also report that chondroitin sulphate improves grip strength and relieves morning stiffness.
"Although hand OA is highly prevalent among adults and can significantly impact the quality of life for sufferers, therapeutic options are still limited," said Cem Gabay, M.D., with University Hospitals of Geneva in Switzerland and lead investigation of the Finger osteoArthritis Chondroitin Treatment Study (FACTS). "There are few trials examining therapeutic approaches specific to hand OA and much of the available evidence has been extrapolated from studies investigating other forms of OA."
The single-center, placebo-controlled FACTS trial included 162 patients with radiographic hand OA who met inclusion criteria—spontaneous hand pain on the visual analogue scale (VAS) of 40 mm (scale 0-100) or more and Functional Index for Hand OA (FIHOA) level of 6 (scale 0-30).
Participants received either 800 mg of chondroitin sulphate (80 patients) or placebo (82 patients) once daily for 6 months.
Results showed that patients in the chondroitin sulphate group had significant decrease in global hand pain compared with the placebo group, reflecting an 8.7 decrease on the VAS. Hand function also improved significantly for those taking chondroitin sulphate, decreasing more than 2 points on the FIHOA.
Researchers also reported significantly improved hand function and reduction in morning stiffness for participants taking chondroitin sulphate versus placebo.
"Our findings show chondroitin sulphate is a safe and effective treatment for patients with hand OA," concluded Dr. Gabay. "Alternative therapies, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), provide similar pain reducing effects, but with considerably more long-term toxicities."
Chondroitin sulphate is a naturally occurring molecule and a main component of joint cartilage. The chondroitin sulphate agent used in this study (Chondrosulf®) is licensed as a drug in Europe and not as a nutripharmaceutical; in Malaysia and the U.S. chondroitin sulphate is sold as a supplement and often paired with glucosamine (see below for brands available at our pharmacies).
Story Source: The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by The Zestzfulness Team) from the news release by Wiley-Blackwell on September 6, 2011.
(1) The American College of Rheumatology estimates that OA—the most common form of arthritis—affects more than 27 million adults in the U.S., causing joint pain and stiffness. Approximately 10% of the world population, 60 years and older, have symptomatic osteoarthritis according to the Global Burden of Disease 2000 report from the World Health Organization. Prior studies have found that 20% to 30% of adults have OA of the hand, with the prevalence rising to more than 50% after 60 years of age.
(2) This study is published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP), a division of the College, and covers all aspects of inflammatory disease: Cem Gabay, Carole Medinger-Sadowski, Danielle Gascon, Frank Kolo, Axel Finckh. Symptomatic Effect of Chondroitin Sulfate 4&6 in Hand Osteoarthritis: The Finger osteoArthritis Chondroitin Treatment Study (FACTS): A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Clinical Trial. Arthritis & Rheumatism; Published Online: September 6, 2011 (DOI: 10.1002/art.30574).
In the local scene, Tunku Kamarul et al showed that combination autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) with glucosamine sulphate alone or with glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin sulphate may prove beneficial for healing of damaged cartilage, in rabbits. Their report (3) was published in the European Cells and Materials journal in March this year. You can download the full report HERE.
(3) Kamarul T, Ab-Rahim S, Tumin M, Selvaratnam L, Ahmad TS. A preliminary study of the effects of glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin sulphate on surgically treated and untreated focal cartilage damage. Eur Cell Mater. 2011 Mar 15;21:259-71