The rate of decline of joint space width in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials of chondroitin sulfate .

Current medical research and opinion

PubMedID: 18826751

Hochberg MC, Zhan M, Langenberg P. The rate of decline of joint space width in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials of chondroitin sulfate . Curr Med Res Opin. 2008;24(11):3029-35.
BACKGROUND
Chondroitin sulfate has been shown to relieve pain and improve functional limitation in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee in numerous clinical trials and meta-analyses. Its role as a potential structure-modifying drug for knee OA, however, remains controversial.

OBJECTIVE
To perform a meta-analysis of randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials to assess the efficacy of chondroitin sulfate as a structure-modifying drug for knee OA. Research design and methods: A Medline search was conducted from 1996 through 2007 and five articles that reported results from three trials were identified; one additional trial was identified through review of presentations at annual rheumatology meetings. There was no evidence of heterogeneity across the trials and results were pooled using a fixed effects meta-analysis.

RESULTS
Pooled results demonstrated a small significant effect of chondroitin sulfate on the reduction in rate of decline in minimum joint space width of 0.07?mm/year (95% CI 0.03, 0.10) that corresponded to an effect size of 0.26 (95% CI 0.14, 0.38) (p?
CONCLUSION
These results demonstrate that chondroitin sulfate is effective for reducing the rate of decline in minimum joint space width in patients with OA of the knee. Chondroitin sulfate may have a role as a structure-modifying agent in the management of patients with knee OA.