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Pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate has proved efficacy in the treatment and delay of knee osteoarthritis

14 Jun 2017
Healthcare
  • A new clinical trial, called CONCEPT, involving more than 600 patients from 5 European countries, shows that chondroitin sulfate is as effective as celecoxib and superior to placebo for pain reduction and improvement of functional disability
  • A second two-year clinical essay, called MOSAIC, carried out with Quantitative Magnetic Resonance in 5 medical centers in Canada, proves that chondroitin sulfate delays the disease’s progression and is as effective as celecoxib improving osteoarthritis symptoms
  • International medical guidelines, such as PANLAR, recommend use of pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate for symptomatic treatment of knee, hand and hip osteoarthritis

The latest published[1] evidence on osteoarthritis treatment has been presented today at the symposium organized by Bioiberica and IBSA at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology, being held in Madrid, Spain.

On the one hand, a new clinical trial, carried out by IBSA and called CONCEPT (ChONdroitin vs CElecoxib vs Placebo Trial), shows that pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate is as effective as an anti-inflammatory drug (celecoxib) and superior to placebo for pain reduction and improvement of functional disability in patients with knee osteoarthritis. This is a phase III, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy study, that enrolled 604 patients from 16 centers in Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, and Switzerland with knee osteoarthritis to investigate the symptomatic effects of chondroitin sulfate (800 mg/day) and celecoxib (200 mg/day) as compared to placebo.

A great controversy still exists as to which should be the treatment of choice for osteoarthritis. Analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs have traditionally been used, but they are increasingly associated to toxicity warnings. This trial has provided statistically significant evidence that treatment with pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate is an effective and safe alternative for long-term treatment of patients with knee osteoarthritis” according to Dr. Tomasz Blicharski, Department of Rehabilitation and Traumatology of Lublin University (Poland) and investigator of the study.

On the other hand, a multicenter, randomized, double blind, controlled and comparative study, conducted by Bioiberica and named MOSAIC (24 MOnth study on Structural changes in knee osteoarthritis Assessed by mrI with Chondroitin sulfate), carried out in five medical centers in Quebec (Canada), shows that chondroitin sulfate delays the disease’s progression and is as effective as celecoxib improving osteoarthritis symptoms.

The study recruited 194 patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis with inflammation (synovitis) and moderate pain, to assess the effects of chondroitin sulfate (1.200 mg/ day) and celecoxib (200 mg/ day) over the loss of cartilage volume in knee osteoarthritis after 24 months. The participants underwent three Quantitative Magnetic Resonance scans and the results revealed that the progression of knee osteoarthritis is slower in patients receiving chondroitin sulfate. More precisely, this group experienced a statistically significant lower loss of cartilage volume as soon as after the first year of treatment, in comparison with those patients who received the anti inflammatory drug. Patients treated with chondroitin sulfate had a decrease in synovitis which was associated with a statistical significant decrease in cartilage loss.

The study also evaluated the effects of both products on the disease’s symptoms. More precisely, the study evaluated their effects on pain, function, stiffness, joint efflux and swelling; concluding that both treatments were equally efficient across the entire study, reaching a clinically relevant symptom improvement of around 50%.

All this latest evidence presented today proves that chondroitin sulfate complies with the requirements that an osteoarthritis treatment must fulfill: on one hand, it improves pain and functional capacity, and, on the other hand, it delays the disease’s progression while having a good safety profile, something essential in a chronic disease such as osteoarthritis”, concluded Professor Jean Pierre Pelletier[2], main investigator of the MOSAIC study.

As matter of fact, also international medical guidelines, such as PANLAR, recommend use of pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate for symptomatic treatment of knee, hand and hip osteoarthritis.


[1] Pelletier J-P, et al. Chondroitin sulfate efficacy versus celecoxib on knee osteoarthritis structural changes using magnetic resonance imaging: a 2-year multicentre exploratory study. Arthritis Research and Therapy 2016 Nov 3;18 (1):256. 

Reginster JY, et al. Pharmaceutical-grade Chondroitin sulfate is as effective as celecoxib and superior to placebo in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: the ChONdroitin versus CElecoxib versus Placebo Trial (CONCEPT). Ann Rheum Dis. 2017 May 22. pii: annrheumdis-2016-210860. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210860. [Epub ahead of print] 

[2] MD; professor of medicine, University of Montreal; director, Rheumatic Disease Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Montreal School of Medicine; head, Arthritis Division, University of Montreal Hospital Centre (CHUM); head, Chair in Osteoarthritis of the University of Montreal; and director, Osteoarthritis Research Unit, University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM).