Glucosamine sulphate can improve joint symptoms associated with sports injuries and arthritis by at least 40% and often up to 70% compared with an inactive placebo. A landmark clinical trial compared the effects of glucosamine sulphate (1500mg once daily for three years) versus placebo on the long-term progression of knee osteoarthritis in 212 patients. Those taking placebo showed progressive narrowing of the knee joint space over the 3 year trial period, while those taking glucosamine sulphate showed no significantloss of joint space. Those receiving glucosamine sulphate enjoyed significant improvements in pain and disability, which was sustained for the three year duration of the trial; in contrast, those taking placebo experienced a significant worsening of symptoms.*1 Glucosamine sulphate appears to be at least as effective in reducing joint pain as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen. In a study involving 178 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, those taking glucosamine 1500mg daily for four weeks showed improvements similar to those seen with ibuprofen 1200mg daily, but with less side effects.*2
No significant side effects were reported. It should not, however, be used in pregnancy, as its effects have not yet been investigated.
*1Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial, Jean Yves Reginster, Rita Deroisy, Lucio C Rovati, Richard L Lee, Eric Lejeune, OL Bruyere, Giampaolo Giacovelli, Yves Henrotin, Jane E Dacre, Christiane Gossett: Lancet 2001; 357: 251-5.
*2 Efficacy and safety of glucosamine sulphate versus ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis, Qiu GX, Gao SN, Giacovelli G, Rovati L, Setnikar I.: Arzneimittelforschung. 1998 May; 48(5): 469-74