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Experts found evidence that the most commonly prescribed treatments for osteoarthritis, such as anti-inflammatory drugs or paracetamol, have limited effectiveness and considerable secondary effects.

4 May 2015
  • In addition, they presented new evidence on the efficacy and security of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine for reducing pain and improving mobility in joints affected by osteoarthritis.
  • Specialists emphasized that osteoarthritis is a complex condition having a variable course and is frequently associated with other severe diseases, insisting upon the importance of prescribing an efficient, and secure, treatment.
  • These are some of the conclusions presented at the symposium hosted by the Spanish company Bioiberica during the Osteoarthritis World Congress held this past weekend. 

Seattle, USA, May 4th, 2015. Osteoarthritis is a highly prevalent complex chronic disease, which is frequently associated with other severe diseases. 

New data presented at the Osteoarthritis World Congress held by OARSI (Osteoarthritis Research Society International) during this past weekend in Seattle, USA, indicated that 37 percent of osteoarthritis patients who had endured prosthetic knee or hip surgery also suffered from another condition. More precisely, 50% of these patients have arterial hypertension and 11% suffer from diabetes. “We have seen that osteoarthritis is linked to, or causes, the onset of other severe conditions. This is why it is very important to prescribe an efficient, and above all, secure treatment”, explained Professor Nigel Arden, epidemiologist at the Oxford University (United Kingdom). 

In this regard, Professor Arden declared that “some of the most widely used treatments in osteoarthritis, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, paracetamol (acetaminophen) or inhibitors of COX-II, have proven to have limited efficacy for the treatment of the osteoarthritis symptoms, as well as considerable secondary effects such as hepatic, gastrointestinal or cardiovascular problems. In fact, recent studies point out that the use of anti-inflammatory products over an extended period of time is associated with an increase in the risk of infarction”. This is the reason why Professor Arden has insisted upon the necessity to move towards a personalized treatment for patients, in order to avoid the interaction between drugs, as well as to reduce adverse side effects.

“A good option for these patients would be the so called cartilage protectors, such as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, which have an increasingly solid body of scientific evidence as well as an elevated safety profile”, explained Professor Allen Sawitzke, rheumatologist at the University of Utah (USA). Professor Sawitzke presented the results of the MOVES clinical trial, which were recently published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases journal. The main conclusion of this study is that the combination of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine has an efficacy comparable to that of the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib after six months of treatment of severe osteoarthritis, reducing in a clinically significant way pain, functional inability, stiffness, inflammation and joint effusion. “The main difference is that chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine have less secondary effects, are safer for patients, and, therefore, they can be administered on a regular basis”, added Professor Sawitzke. The results confirmed those published by the GAIT study done by Clegg’s group in 2006 and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which proved that this combination is superior to placebo in patients suffering from moderate to severe pain.

Finally, they presented the Cochrane review on chondroitin sulfate published this past February. The aim of that revision was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of chondroitin sulfate for the treatment of osteoarthritis. To do so, they carried out a review of seven data bases which included 43 clinical trials with 4,962 patients receiving that drug. The results of this independent assessment evidenced that patients treated with chondroitin sulfate had a statistically significant, clinically relevant improvement compared to placebo in studies lasting less than six months.

All these trials were presented during the symposium “New Evidences in the Symptomatic Treatment of Osteoarthritis”, hosted by Bioiberica, the only Spanish company present at this congress.