[Use of glucosamine does not reduce the need for other pain-relieving drugs]

Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2010 Aug 12;130(15):1463-6. doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.09.0071.
[Article in Norwegian]


Background: Since 2004, glucosamine has been available as a prescription drug for symptomatic treatment of mild to moderate osteoarthritis. The aim of this study was to characterize glucosamine utilization patterns, and patients' concomitant use of other analgesics, as well as the prescribers' medical specialty.

Material and methods: We searched the Norwegian Prescription Database for all glucosamine prescriptions dispensed during the years 2004, 2005 and 2006, and prescriptions for analgesics with codeine, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reimbursed for arthrosis for the same patients.

Results: In the three-year period, 91,107 patients received 297,558 prescriptions for glucosamine-corresponding to a total cost for patients of 70 mill. NOK. 86 % of patients were more than 50 years old, 69 % were women. Among physicians with a known specialty, 84 % of prescribers were specialists in general practice. 33.3 % of patients used glucosamine all three years. Among the patients who used glucosamine regularly 19 % were prescribed NSAIDs, while 22 % of them used analgesics containing codeine. Patients who started taking glucosamine did not reduce their use of analgetics containing codeine. A positive correlation was seen between use of glucosamine and use of NSAIDs.

Interpretation: Glucosamine use is not associated with use of less other pain-relieving drugs. This may reflect insufficient clinical effect of glucosamine.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Glucosamine / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy*


  • Analgesics
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Glucosamine