3, NO. 4, 1980
This abstract reprinted with permission of publisher,
Excerpta Medica ©1980
Therapeutic Activity of Oral Glucosamine
Sulfate in Osteoarthrosis: A Placebo Controlled Double-Blind
A. Drovanti Vigevano
General Hospital, Italy
A.A, Bignamini Institute of Biological Chemistry, University
of Pavia, Italy
A.L. Rovati Rotta Research Laboratorium, Milano, Italy
Eighty inpatients with established osteoarthrosis received
either 1.5 gm of glucosamine sulfate* or placebo daily,
in three divided oral doses, for 30 days. Articular pain,
joint tenderness and swelling, and restriction of active
and passive movements were scored at one week intervals,
as were possible side reactions. Hematologic analysis,
urine analysis, and occult blood in feces were recorded
before and after treatment. Samples of articular cartilage
from two patients of each group and from one healthy subject
were submitted to scanning electron microscopy after the
end of treatment. All symptoms decreased in both groups.
The patients treated with glucosamine sulfate experienced
a reduction in overall symptoms that was almost twice
as large (730% vs. 41%) twice as fast (time to reduce
symptoms by 50%: 20 days vs. 36 days) as the who had placebo.
The improvement of autonomous mobility was relatively
less, compared to improvement in the other symptoms, for
patients with placebo; with glucosamine sulfate, on the
contrary, the improvement was as great and as fast as
that of the other symptoms. Thus a direct action of glucosamine
sulfate on the cartilage is hypothesized.
This hypothesis is supported by the findings of electron
microscopy. The patients who had placebo showed a typical
picture of established osteoarthrosis. Those who had glucosamine
sulfate showed a picture more similar to healthy cartilage.
It is concluded that glucosamine sulfate tends to rebuild
the damaged cartilage, thus restoring articular function
in most chronic arthrosic patients.
*Trademark: Viartril-S® (Rotta
Pharmaceuticals, Monza, Italy).