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The journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases confirms the efficacy of combined therapy with chondroitin sulfate plus glucosamine in knee osteoarthritis

27 Jan 2015
  • The results of the clinical trial MOVES have been published showing that the combination of these two drugs reduces pain, functional disability, joint stiffness, swelling and effusion in knee osteoarthritis
  • It is an efficacy comparable to an anti-inflammatory drug after six months of treatment in severe osteoarthritis, but with a greater safety profile
  • 606 patients with primary knee osteoarthritis and moderate to severe pain from 42 centers in Spain, Germany, France and Poland participated in the study

The journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (the highest impact journal in rheumatology worldwide with an impact factor of 9.270) has just published in its online edition the results of the clinical trial MOVES (Multicentre Osteoarthritis InterVEntion trial with Sysadoa). The main conclusion of the study is that the combination of chondroitin sulfate plus glucosamine has comparable efficacy to the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib after six months of treatment in severe osteoarthritis. Specifically, it was seen that the combination of these two drugs caused a clinically relevant reduction in pain, functional disability, stiffness, swelling and joint effusion, improving all the parameters studied: 

-        Reduction in pain: 50.1%[1].

-        Reduction in functional disability: 45.5%.

-        Reduction in stiffness: 46.9%.

-        Reduction in swelling: 53%.

-        Reduction in joint effusion: 56%. 

“This study confirms the efficacy of the combination of pharmaceutical grade-chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine in the long term and suggests that, considering its excellent safety profile, it may be a good alternative for patients with cardiovascular or gastrointestinal problems, for whom chronic treatment with NSAIDs cannot be recommended” explained Prof. Marc C. Hochberg, rheumatologist of the University of Maryland School of Medicine (Baltimore, USA) and member of the study's scientific committee. 

Study design

MOVES is a multicenter, randomized, parallel-group, double-blind, controlled clinical trial, sponsored by Bioibérica, in which 606 patients with primary knee osteoarthritis and moderate to severe pain were recruited from 42 centers in Spain, Germany, France and Poland. A multidisciplinary team of investigators including rheumatologists, orthopaedists and primary care physicians participated in the study.

Designed according to good clinical practice guidelines, current legislation and regulations for drug research in osteoarthritis, the study also included a Scientific Committee formed by internationally renowned specialists for its supervision[2]

The primary objective was to show that the combination of chondroitin sulfate plus glucosamine is comparable in efficacy to celecoxib in the treatment of moderate to severe pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Patients were given pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate (1200 mg/day) and glucosamine hydrochloride (1500 mg/ day) or 200 mg of celecoxib (anti-inflammatory drug) daily for six months. 

The results confirmed those obtained in the GAIT study by Clegg's group in 2006 and published in the New England Journal of Medicine[3], where the combination was superior to placebo in patients with moderate to severe pain. “In fact, MOVES was developed as an extension from GAIT, to confirm these results. Since GAIT compared the combination versus celecoxib and placebo, the MOVES trial was designed as a non-inferiority study comparing only the combination versus celecoxib”, stated Prof. Allen Sawitzke, rheumatologist of the University of Utah School of Medicine (Salt Lake City, USA) who participated in the design of the two studies. 

These results provide final confirmation of the efficacy and safety of the combination of chondroitin sulfate plus glucosamine for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. 

Scientific Committee:

⁻        Prof. Nigel Arden, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

⁻        Prof. Francis Berenbaum, Hospital Saint-Antoine, Paris, France

⁻        Prof. Juan Ramón Castillo, Centro Andaluz de Farmacovigilancia, Seville, Spain.

⁻        Prof. Phillip Conaghan, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

⁻        Prof. Yves Henrotin, Universty of Liège, Belgium

⁻        Prof. Marc Hochberg, University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA.

⁻        Prof. Johanne Martel-Pelletier, University of Montreal, Canada

⁻        Dr. Jordi Monfort, Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain

⁻        Dr. Ingrid Möller, Instituto Poal Reumatología, Barcelona, Spain

⁻        Prof. Thomas Pap, University of Münster, Germany

⁻        Prof. Jean Pierre Pelletier, University of Montreal, Canada

⁻        Prof. Pascal Richette, Lariboisière Hospital, Paris, France

⁻        Prof. Allen Sawitzke, University of Utah Clinic, Salt Lake City, USA

⁻        Prof. Patrick du Souich, University of Montreal, Canada.

[1] From 20%, the reduction is considered clinically relevant.

[2] See detail at the end of the note.

[3] Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis. Clegg DO, Reda DJ, Harris CL, Klein MA, O'Dell JR, Hooper MM et al. N Engl J Med. 2006 Feb 23;354(8):795-808.

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