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Novel brain response assessment technique confirms symptomatic efficacy of chondroitin sulfate in treating osteoarthritis

21 Oct 2013

A Phase IV, randomized, double blind, placebo controlled clinical test was presented at the 21st National congress of the Spanish Society of Clinical pharmacology. The procedure consisted of applying a painful stimulus to the patients’ knees, then used functional magnetic resonance to measure the brain’s reaction to pain. Patients taking chondroitin sulfate experienced a reduction in the reaction of their brain to pain. The study’s results confirm the already known symptomatic and progression-reduction effects of chondroitin sulfate in osteoarthritis. They lend further support to the usefulness of functional magnetic resonance imaging inevaluatingthe effects of a given drug.

Barcelona, October 21, 2013. A new clinical trial presented at the 21st Congress of the Spanish society of clinical pharmacology (SEFC) held at Cadiz, has demonstrated the efficacy of chondroitin sulfate in the reduction of brain activation in response to knee pain. One of the novelties of this study is the technology they used: functional magnetic resonance to objectively analyze the brain’s response to knee pain.

It was a phase IV, double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial carried out by the departments of rheumatology and neuroimaging of the Hospital del Mar (Barcelona) along with Spanish biotech company Bioibérica Farma. The trial involved a total of 64 knee osteoarthritis patients who received daily 800 mg of chondroitin sulfate or placebo. The procedure consisted of applying painful stimuli to the patients, pressing the patellar bone (thus exerting direct pain on the cartilage), then analyzing their brain’s response by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging.

OA patients who received chondroitin sulfate experienced a greater reduction in brain activation in response to pressure exerted on the patellar bone (pDr. Jordi Monfort, lead author of the study and rheumatologist at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona.

These results used an empirical method to confirm the already known symptomatic and progression-reduction effects of chondroitin sulfate in osteoarthritis. “One inherent problem in the ability to assess the efficacy of a given drug against pain is the lack of objective methods to measure it. In this regard, functional magnetic resonance has proved to be a highly promising technique to precisely measure the effects of osteoarthritis pain treatment”, added Dr. Monfort.