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Chondroitin Sulphate: Superior to NSAID therapy in Osteoarthritis

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Rebecca Guild ● 2 min read


A recent double-blind, randomized controlled multi-centre trial funded by the pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin  manufacturer, Bioberica has found that patients with osteoarthritis (OA) taking chondroitin sulphate (CS) shows superior efficacy than the most commonly prescribed anti-inflammatory, celecoxib (CE).[1]

Since entering the market in the late nineties, celecoxib, by Pfizer, quickly became one of the most widely prescribed pain medications [2]. It is the the most common drug of choice by medical professionals employed in the management of OA pain. Celecoxib is belongs to the class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) that are cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitors. They carry with them a host of potential side effects including an increased risk of myocardial infarction, stroke and death from cardiovascular events.[2]

Herein lies the opportunity for a safe, effective intervention to become the treatment of choice in OA. Over the two year study, chondroitin was shown to be effective in reducing pain scores as well as delaying disease progression. In particular there was a 51% reduction in joint swelling and effusion in the CS group, versus a 39% reduction in the CE group. Both treatments were comparable in effectiveness for a reduction in disease symptoms and adverse events as well as the need for other concomitant pain medications, such as paracetamol. However, only CS can credited with slowing the overall loss of cartilage. 

The results seen in this study were achieved with a dose of 1200mg of CS and were compared to CE at a dose of 200mg. Given the ease of administration of CS, accessibility and compliance, combined with it’s strong profile for safety, CS is an ideal therapy for those seeking an alternative to NSAIDs treatment. Integrative Medicine professionals are in an ideal position to refer patients to a quality, pharmaceutical grade CS supplement and help manage their symptoms, whether it’s alongside standard medical treatment, or in a stand-alone approach. 

PRACTICE POINTS

  • Daily dose of 1200mg of Chondroitin Sulphate is effective for joint pain and inflammation and can slow progression of joint degradation in osteoarthritis.
  • Chondroitin Sulphate is equally as effective for osteoarthritis as the leading non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) prescribed for the condition.
  • Chondroitin Sulphate lacks many of the risks associated with common pain medications administered for osteoarthritis. 

REFERENCES

  1. Pelletier JP, Raynauld JP, Beaulieu A, et al. In a two-year double-blind randomized controlled multicenter study, chondroitin sulfate was significantly superior to celecoxib at reducing cartilage loss with similar efficacy at reducing disease symptoms in knee osteoarthritis patients. Arthritis Rheumatol 2015;67(suppl 10). Accessed November 11, 2015. [Abstract]
     
  2. Gong L, Thorn CF, Bertagnolli M, et al. Celecoxib pathways: pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Pharmacogenetics and Genomics 2012;22(4):310-318. [Full Text]

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The information provided on FX Medicine is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please seek the advice of a qualified health care professional in the event something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health.

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Rebecca Guild
Rebecca is a Naturopath having graduated in 2003 with an Adv.Dip Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine. Rebecca has worked in pharmacy, her own clinic and for one of Australia's largest professional supplement companies, and more recently as the editor and curator for FX Medicine. Rebecca is now involved in complementary medicine education, sales and marketing, digital & social media and is a passionate advocate of naturopathic medicine in the Integrative Health Model. She has a special interest in the regulatory landscape of naturopathic medicine and likes to inspire current and future students to strive for meaningful careers in the industry.