Many patients have tried non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen and naproxen to treat their osteoarthritis. However, many patients find themselves looking for alternative treatments if these medications fail to alleviate their condition. Corticosteroid and hyaluronate injections are also a commonly used treatment; however, not everyone is comfortable using injectable drugs and needles.
Glucosamine and chondroitin provide patients with an alternative option to treat osteoarthritis. Although proven to be less effective than NSAIDs, glucosamine and chondroitin have shown some success in alleviating osteoarthritis symptoms. Clinical trials show varying outcomes for patients using glucosamine and chondroitin. When searching for a glucosamine and chondroitin product for you to try, it’s important to keep in mind that glucosamine may come in different forms. Glucosamine sulfate as shown superiority in clinical trials over other forms of glucosamine such as glucosamine hydrochloride and N-acetyl glucosamine.
There are some other things to consider before deciding whether or not glucosamine and chondroitin are the right choice for you, as well. Glucosamine and chondroitin are derived from shellfish; therefore if someone has a shellfish allergy, this might not be the right choice for them. Patients currently taking warfarin should also try to avoid glucosamine and chondroitin, as they may interact with warfarin and put the patient at a higher risk of bleeding.
Although glucosamine and chondroitin have not proven to be as effective as NSAIDs in the treatment of osteoarthritis, it’s a relatively safe supplement to use. Glucosamine and chondroitin have not been seen to produce harmful and toxic effects on patients who were studied using them. Especially for patients who are unable to tolerate NSAIDs, glucosamine and chondroitin provide a great alternative to help manage osteoarthritis pain. This content was originally provided by Andrew P. Waibel, Pharm.D. Candidate 2020