Randomized, controlled trial of glucosamine for treating osteoarthritis of the knee

West J Med. 2000 Feb;172(2):91-4. doi: 10.1136/ewjm.172.2.91.


Objective: To determine the effectiveness of glucosamine in reducing pain from osteoarthritis of the knee.

Design: Randomized, double-blind parallel trial of glucosamine 500 mg three times daily or a placebo for 2 months.

Setting: Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Prescott, AZ.

Participants: Ninety-eight patients aged 34 to 81 being treated for osteoarthritis of the knee.

Main outcome measures: Pain intensity both at rest and while walking as assessed by a visual analog scale at baseline and after 30 and 60 days of treatment.

Results: Forty-nine patients were randomly allocated to each group. There was no statistical difference between the two groups in scores on the visual analog scale at 30 days for resting (mean [SD] score placebo group 3.5 [2.7] vs 3.3 [2.4] glucosamine group, P = 0.66) or walking (5.1 [2.6] vs 5.3 [2.4], P = 0.69); there was also no difference at 60 days for resting (3.4 [2.5] vs 3.2 [2.5], P = 0.81) or walking (4.9 [2.2] vs 4.9 [2.8], P = 0.90). There was also no statistical difference between groups in the mean change from baseline in scores on the visual analog scale (mean [SD] change for walking at 60 days placebo group -1.5 [2.5] vs glucosamine group -1.4 [3.0], P = 0.77). Two participants taking glucosamine and 4 taking placebo withdrew from the study due to adverse side effects (P = 0.67).

Conclusion: Glucosamine was no better than placebo in reducing pain from osteoarthritis of the knee in this group of patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Glucosamine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Glucosamine