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Chondroitin May be as Effective as NSAIDs for Knee Pain

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely prescribed for knee pain but they can cause a number of potentially negative side effects. A recent study suggests that taking a pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin supplement may be as effective as NSAIDs for managing pain due to knee osteoarthritis.


Participants in the study included 604 people with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. They were given either 800 mg of pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate and 200 mg of a fake anti-inflammatory drug; a fake chondroitin tablet and one capsule of the anti-inflammatory drug; or two fake tablets.


The researchers assessed pain, improvements in joint function, and overall acceptability to the patient at 30, 91, and 182 days. They used a Visual Analog Scale and the Lequesne Index to assess changes in pain.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted significantly greater reductions in pain and improvements in joint function after six and three months in both the chondroitin and NSAID groups.


Researchers from Liège State University in Belgium led the study. It was published online ahead of print on May 22, 2017, in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.


Chondroitin is found in and around the cells of cartilage, and provides cartilage with strength and resilience. Previous research has found that chondroitin may help ease the pain of arthritis and osteoporosis, lower cholesterol and possibly help with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

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