Glucosamine/chondroitin/primorine combination therapy for osteoarthritis

Drugs Today (Barc). 2009 Jan;45(1):21-31. doi: 10.1358/dot.2009.45.1.1314053.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common arthritis affecting the aging population. This degenerative disease can cause significant pain and functional disability in affected individuals. Despite advances in the retardation of rheumatoid arthritis with disease-modifying agents, comparable oral agents have been relatively unavailable for OA. The mainstays of therapy continue to be acetaminophen and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medications to manage symptoms. Unfortunately, these medications can precipitate severe adverse events in some patients or may be contraindicated, leaving few choices remaining to control pain and suffering. Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate have been evaluated in many studies as agents to relieve pain, improve functional activity, and slow disease progression in OA especially of the hip and knee. Studies have reported conflicting results regarding improvement in the pain and disability associated with OA with the use of glucosamine and chondroitin as single agents; however, when improvement has been demonstrated, the formulation has primarily been glucosamine sulfate combined with chondroitin sulfate. Recently, as a result of information implicating the role of reactive oxygen species and oxidative cellular stress reactions on the onset of neurodegenerative and inflammatory disorders, it has been theorized that medications that could control or alter these reactions might improve or prevent the onset of these conditions. Primorine is a combination of products thought to alter these biochemical oxidative byproducts. Based on current evidence, the use of a combination product of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate seems to have the greatest potential as a therapeutic intervention for patients at increased risk from the adverse events of accepted current oral therapies. The use of primorine and its combination of products as an intervention in OA has theoretical advantages but its benefits are unproven. A new product, relamine, is a combination of these three formulations. While no studies have evaluated glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate and primorine in a single product, it may be an option for those who wish to try an alternate therapy for OA, as there appears to be a low risk for serious adverse events.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 4-Aminobenzoic Acid / administration & dosage
  • 4-Aminobenzoic Acid / adverse effects
  • 4-Aminobenzoic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / administration & dosage
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / adverse effects
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Combinations
  • Glucosamine / administration & dosage
  • Glucosamine / adverse effects
  • Glucosamine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Thioctic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Thioctic Acid / adverse effects
  • Thioctic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin E / adverse effects
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use


  • Drug Combinations
  • Vitamin E
  • Thioctic Acid
  • Chondroitin Sulfates
  • Glucosamine
  • 4-Aminobenzoic Acid