Objectives: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of the relative effectiveness of glucosamine sulphate and placebo in managing pain in osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.
Methods: Eighty patients with OA of the knee were recruited from a rheumatology out-patient clinic and received either glucosamine sulphate 1500 mg daily for 6 months or dummy placebo. The primary outcome measure was patients' global assessment of pain in the affected knee.
Results: Area under the curve analysis for the primary outcome measure showed no difference between placebo and glucosamine [mean difference 0.15 mm, 95% confidence interval (CI) -8.78 to 9.07]. The placebo response was 33%. There was a statistically significant difference between groups in knee flexion (mean difference 13 degrees, 95% CI -23.13 to -1.97), but this difference was small and could have been due to measurement error.
Conclusions: As a symptom modifier in OA patients with a wide range of pain severities, glucosamine sulphate was no more effective than placebo.