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Chondroitin Alleviates Pain & Improves Function in Hand Arthritis

Posted Nov 24 2011 10:14pm
Posted on 2011-11-23 06:00:00 in Arthritis | Dietary Supplementation |

More than half of people older than 60 experience hand osteoarthritis (OA), but the therapeutic options are few and data on the efficacy of these therapies are scarce.  Cem Gabay from the University of Geneva School of Medicine (Switzerland), and colleagues enrolled 162 subjects, mean age 83 years, with severely symptomatic OA, assigning each to receive either six months of daily chondroitin (800 mg; as purified chondroitin sulfate derived from fish sources), or placebo. Global hand pain rated on a 100-mm visual analog scale fell by 20 mm for patients taking chondroitin, as compared with 11.3 mm for patients receiving placebo.  As well, scores on the 30-point Functional Index for Hand OA decreased by 2.9 points in the chondroitin group, compared to 0.7 points in the placebo group.  A secondary outcome favoring chondroitin was duration of morning stiffness, which decreased by 4.8 minutes in the active treatment group but increased by 0.3 minutes in the placebo group. The study authors conclude that: “This study demonstrates that [chondroitin sulfate] improves hand pain and function in patients with symptomatic OA of the hand and shows a good safety profile.”

Cem Gabay, Carole Medinger-Sadowski, Danielle Gascon, Frank Kolo, Axel Finckh.  “Symptomatic effects of chondroitin 4 and chondroitin 6 sulfate on hand osteoarthritis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial at a single center.”  Arthritis & Rheumatism 2011: 63; 3383–3391; 28 October 2011.

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