A retrospective observational study of glucosamine sulfate in addition to conventional therapy in hand osteoarthritis patients compared to conventional treatment alone

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2020 Jun;32(6):1161-1172. doi: 10.1007/s40520-019-01305-4. Epub 2019 Aug 19.


Background: The optimal management of hand osteoarthritis (HOA) is still challenging.

Aim: To evaluate the effects of glucosamine sulfate (GS) in addition to conventional therapy compared to conventional therapy alone in HOA.

Methods: This 6-month retrospective study included 108 patients with concomitant knee and hand OA. Fifty-five patients (GS Group) were treated for six consecutive months with crystalline GS (1500 mg once/day) in addition to conventional therapy for HOA [exercise combined with acetaminophen and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)] and 53 patients (Control Group) with the conventional therapy alone. Primary outcomes were the difference between groups in the change of hand pain on a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and in the Functional Index for Hand Osteoarthritis (FIHOA) from baseline to 6 months. Secondary outcomes were Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), medical outcomes study 36-item short form (SF-36) and symptomatic drug consumption.

Results: The patients who received GS presented a significant decrease (p < 0.001) in VAS pain and FIHOA scores compared with the Control Group at 3 and 6 months. Furthermore, GS therapy was associated to a significant improvement of HAQ score and to a significant reduction of acetaminophen and NSAID consumption during the follow-up. No differences in the number of side effects were observed between the groups.

Discussion: GS could represent a potential successful therapy for HOA and should be tried in large randomized placebo and active controlled trials.

Conclusions: The combination of GS with conventional treatment seems to be more effective in improving pain and function than conventional HOA treatment alone.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, http://www.clinicaltrials.gov date of registration: April 9, 2019, NCT03911570. The present trial was retrospectively registered.

Keywords: Crystalline glucosamine sulfate; Hand osteoarthritis; Pain; Retrospective study; Symptomatic slow-acting drugs for osteoarthritis.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Glucosamine / therapeutic use*
  • Hand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / complications
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Analog Scale


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Glucosamine

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03911570