Chondroitin sulfate may be a safe way to manage symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee

Doctors usually treat osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee with anti-inflammatories like celecoxib, but these drug medications can have serious side effects.

In this study, 604 people with symptomatic knee OA took 800 mg of chondroitin sulfate plus a fake celecoxib tablet, a fake chondroitin capsule plus 200 mg of celecoxib, or two fake chondroitin and celecoxib pills, per day. Most participants were women, average age 65, with body mass index (BMI) scores of 30, indicating obesity.

After 30 days, all three groups reported less pain and better joint function. But by three months, compared to placebo, joint function had improved for chondroitin and celecoxib, and by six months, pain in both treatment groups had also improved more than placebo. Participants rated pain relief and better joint function nearly equally for celecoxib and chondroitin. Doctors said chondroitin sulfate appears to be a safe way to manage symptoms of OA of the knee.

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