Strategies to reduce progression of structural changes in osteoarthritis

Chondroitin sulfate is more efficient than anti-inflammatory drugs for delaying the progression of knee osteoarthritis. Pelletier, et al, Osteoarthritis Research Unit, University of Montréal Hospital Centre, Notre-Dame Hospital, Montréal, Québec

SAN FRANCISCO – Chondroitin sulfate is superior to an anti-inflammatory drug (celecoxib) for delaying the progression of knee osteoarthritis. This is the main conclusion of a new study carried out with Quantitative Magnetic Resonance, which was presented by the rheumatologist and osteoarthritis expert Jean-Pierre Pelletier, from the University of Montreal (Canada), at the official press conference of the Annual meeting of the American Academy of Rheumatology; being held in San Francisco, California.

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This is a multicenter, randomized, double blind, controlled and comparative study analyzing chondroitin sulfate and celecoxib. Lasting more than three years, the study, named MOSAIC, was carried out in five medical centers in Quebec (Canada) in collaboration with Bioiberica. The study recruited 194 patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis with inflammation (synovitis) and moderate pain. Participants were divided into two groups: the first group received 1,200 mg of pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate (made by Bioiberica) per day, while the second group received 200 mg of celecoxib (made by Pfizer) per day, over a two-year period. The participants underwent three Quantitative Magnetic Resonance scans: one at the beginning of the study, a second one after one year, and a third one at the end of the study.

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 after the first year of treatment, in comparison with those patients who received the anti inflammatory drug. “This data proves that chondroitin sulfate may delay the advance of osteoarthritis in the long term, and that it had a disease-modifying effect,” affirmed Professor Pelletier.

The study also evaluated the effects of both drugs 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%. “The study confirmed that both drugs are efficient for the treatment of osteoarthritis symptoms, although only chondroitin sulfate has the additional advantage of exerting a joint protection effect and a better safety profile,” concluded Professor Pelletier.

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Most recent developments in strategies to reduce the progression of structural changes in osteoarthritis: today and tomorrow, Pelletier JP, Martel-Pelletier J, Raynauld JP. Arthritis Res Ther. 2006;8(2):206. Epub 2006 Mar 21.

Also see
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 in American College of Rheumatology

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