Recently, the use of analgesics to treat symptoms of knee osteoarthritis (OA) has been challenged on the grounds of low efficacy and side effects.
A randomised controlled trial, published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases
(online, 22 May 2017), assessed the use of pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin sulfate (CS) in the management of symptomatic knee OA. In the study, 199 patients received pharmaceutical-grade CS, 199 received the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib, and 205 received placebo.
The researchers discovered that both CS and celecoxib reduced pain and improved function more than placebo at six months but found no difference between the effects of the two drugs.
CS has potential importance for management of knee OA, but the effects obtained with pharmaceutical-grade CS cannot be extrapolated to over-the-counter preparations, which differ substantially in terms of their pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, the researchers conclude.
 Reginster J-Y, Dudler J, Blicharski T 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;0:1–7. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210860