Glucosamine and Placebo Treatment Produce Similar Results in Low Back Pain

Findings released from a study on glucosamine in the treatment of chronic low back pain suggest that the dietary supplement does not significantly reduce pain-related disability.

Findings released from a study on glucosamine in the treatment of chronic low back pain suggest that the dietary supplement does not significantly reduce pain-related disability.

The randomized-controlled study is featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association and was performed by researchers at Oslo University Hospital, in Norway.

Head researcher Dr. Phillip Wilkens led a team in investigating the long-term efficacy of glucosamine in patients with chronic LBP. Trial participants, 250, were randomized into two groups: one receiving a daily dose of 1500 mg of glucosamine sulfate and the other receiving placebo. Following a six-month intervention period, the participants were given the opportunity to choose the low back pain management they preferred. The options included were rescue medication, their existing analgesics, or their usual LBP therapy. The patients were asked to complete follow-up visits at six weeks, three months, six months, and one year. The final follow-up was completed via postal questionnaires.

The team found that “Approximately 30.0% of the patients reported mild adverse events.” Additionally, “Only 10 of these patients withdrew from treatment or study during the intervention period, all due to well-known adverse events” and “Withdrawals and reported adverse events were similar in both groups.”

At the one-year follow-up no significant differences between the glucosamine and placebo groups were found, but “both interventions improved functional status by the end of treatment by a similar amount.”

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