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A new international clinical trial provides further evidence on the efficacy of combining chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine in the symptomatic treatment of knee osteoarthritis

21 May 2014

The results show that this drug combination significantly improves a patient’s pain, disability, rigidity, inflammation, joint effusion, and overall quality of life.There was a roughly 50% improvement in pain and functional disability. Any improvement in excess of 20% is considered clinically significant. This clinical trial, named MOVES, recruited 606 patients suffering from primary knee OA with moderate to severe pain and was implemented by 42 medical centers from France, Germany, Poland and Spain. This international clinical trial, one of the largest ever carried out in osteoarthritis, was presented in an official session of the 40th National congress of Rheumatology, currently being held at Santiago de Compostela until next Friday.

Santiago de Compostela, May 21st, 2014. “This clinical trial further confirms the powerful effect of combining chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine in osteoarthritis (OA) treatment. This effect is comparable to that of an anti-inflammatory drug, and has a good security profile”, concluded Professor Jean Pierre Pelletier, rheumatologist at the University of Montreal and member of the scientific committee of the MOVES (Multicentre Osteoarthritis InterVEntion trial with Sysadoas) trial. Professor Pelletier himself presented their study to the medical and scientific community in the course of an official session of the 40th National Congress of the SER (Spanish Society of Rheumatology). The official session was held today at Santiago de Compostela, and was moderated by the president of the SER, Dr. Santiago Muñoz.
The trial was a multicenter, randomized, parallel group, double blind and controlled clinical essay that, under the coordination of Bioberica Farma, recruited 606 primary knee OA patients who experienced moderate to severe pain at 42 medical centers from France, Germany, Poland and Spain. The study was carried out by a multidisciplinary research team which included rheumatologists, trauma experts and primary care physicians. It is one of the largest international studies carried out so far and was designed following good clinical practice guidelines, the current laws and normative governing research in OA drugs. Furthermore, the study was supervised by a scientific committee formed by recognized specialists, both national and international (see list of specialists below).

The main aim of the study was to prove that the combination of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine has an efficacy comparable to that of celecoxib (an anti inflammatory) in the treatment of moderate to severe knee pain OA patients. Patients were given 1200 mg of chondroitin sulfate and 1500 of hydroclorure of glucosamine per day or 200 mg of celecoxib (anti-inflammatory) over a six month period.

Main results

The clinical trial’s main conclusion is that the combination of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine has an efficacy comparable to that of celecoxib in a six-month long treatment of severe OA. “We have seen how the drug improves, to a clinically relevant degree, pain, functional disability, rigidity, inflammation and joint effusion, and that, therefore, significantly improves the quality of life of severe knee OA patients,” said Professor Pelletier.

To be more precise, at the end of the six-month treatment, these two drugs improved all of the following monitored parameters:
- 50% pain improvement
- 45% Functional disability improvement
- 46% rigidity improvement
- 53% inflammation improvement
- 56% joint effusion improvement

According to Professor Pelletier, “although their efficacy is comparable, the combination of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine is a key therapeutic alternative for polymedicated patients suffering from comorbilities, because their security profile is better than that of anti-inflammatory drugs. Since OA is a chronic disease, this point is of special relevance”.

These results confirmed those published in 2006 by Clegg’s group in the New England Journal of Medicine , which suggested that the combination of both yielded better results than placebo in severe pain patients. “These two multicentre clinical essays carried out in the US and in Europe clearly proved the efficacy and security of combining chondroitin sulfate and glycosamine”, concluded Professor Pelletier.

Detailed list of the national centers participating in the study:

- Complexo Hospitalario Universitario, A Coruña
- Hospital De Basurto, Bilbao
- Hospital Del Mar, Barcelona
- Hospital De La Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona
- Instituto Poal De Reumatología, Barcelona
- Corporació Sanitària Parc Taulí, Sabadell (Barcelona)
- Hospital General de Castellón
- Hospital General Gregorio Marañón, Madrid
- Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid
- Hospital Infanta Sofía, San Sebastián de los Reyes

- Hospital General Universitario Morales Meseguer, Murcia
- Hospital Reina Sofía, Córdoba
- Hospital Virgen Macarena, Sevilla
- Hospital Virgen Del Rocío, Sevilla
- CAP Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer, L’Hospitalet (Barcelona)
- CAP Florida, L’Hospitalet (Barcelona)

Scientific committee:

? Prof. Nigel Arden, University of Oxford, Reino Unido
? Prof. Francis Berenbaum, Hospital Saint-Antoine, Paris, Francia
? Prof. Juan Ramón Castillo, Centro Andaluz de Farmacovigilancia, Sevilla.
? Prof. Phillip Conaghan, University of Leeds, Reino Unido
? Prof. Yves Henrotin, University of Liège, Belgium
? Prof. Marc Hochberg, University of Maryland, Baltimore, EE.UU.
? Dr. Jordi Monfort, Hospital del Mar, Barcelona
? Dra. Ingrid Möller, Instituto Poal Reumatología, Barcelona
? Prof. Thomas Pap, University of Münster, Alemania
? Prof. Jean Pierre Pelletier, University of Montreal, Canadá
? Prof. Pascal Richette, Lariboisière Hospital, Paris, Francia
? Prof. Allen Sawitzke, University of Utah Clinic, Salt Lake City, EE.UU.
? Prof. Patrick du Souich, University of Montreal, Canadá.